Mar 29, 2022

Our Investment in Inso Biosciences

An automated genomic DNA processing machine purifies DNA to give scientists back their time.

Julie Wolf

The Guiness World Record for human genome sequencing was set in January 2022, when researchers at Stanford sequenced a patient genome in just over 5 hours. Sadly, most genomics scientists require nearly this long, over 4 hours, to simply perform the first step in whole-genome sequencing: preparing genomic DNA.

Starting with a pure sample of DNA is necessary to get an accurate read of its nucleotide sequence. Most samples begin as a collection of cells and/or tissue. The complicated process of genomic DNA prep requires breaking open both the cell and its nucleus to access the genome, and further eliminating unnecessary lipids, proteins, and RNA molecules. 

Current standard protocols are high-touch, requiring multiple hands-on steps from highly trained scientists, and results aren’t guaranteed–many samples have to be reprocessed due to poor quality or low quantity yields. An automated process that produces high-quality DNA for genomic sequencing would be a game changer.

This is where Inso Biosciences comes in. Their automated genomic DNA processing machine purifies DNA with a minimum time requirement from technicians. Not only does this give back valuable time to scientists, but the entire process also guarantees high quality, high yield samples for downstream sequencing and analysis.

The company’s sweet spot is preparing long molecules of DNA that are 10-100 kb long, as required by long-read sequencing technologies like those used by Pacific Biosciences and Oxford Nanopore. Inso can also modify the process to create shorter 100bp fragments for short-read technologies like those used by Illumina (for now). This makes them sequencing technology-agnostic, with potential to add value across the genomics sector.

Inso uses a razor-and-blade model, with cartridges providing the ability to process sample after sample. A multiplexed machine to prep multiple samples simultaneously is part of the long-term company vision.

The team is composed of true thought leaders in the genomics space, including CEO Harvey Tian, Ph.D., CSO Adam Bisogni, Ph.D., and Scientific Advisor (and previous PacBio founder) Harold Craighead, Ph.D. The three spent the past 5 years optimizing the technology in Craighead’s Cornell University lab before spinning out the company in early 2020.

As someone who has prepared genomic DNA the old-fashioned way (or soon-to-be old-fashioned way), I can testify to the need for innovations in this space. I look forward to working alongside Inso Bio to create a new status quo, where scientists spend more time using their brains than their hands in the workplace.

At 2048 Ventures, we have a strong thesis on automation as the new biological infrastructure. We are excited to lead Inso Bio’s pre-seed round, alongside forward-thinking investors at SOSV, Whitecap Venture Partners, Ataraxia Ventures, and CRCM Ventures.

Learn more about Inso Bio on their website, read the seed round announcement, and of course, reach out to to learn how you can partner with them to build the new genomics infrastructure.

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