Proteins are a foundational pillar in healthcare and behind every major advancement in biotech and synthetic biology for the last half-century, while biotech’s emergence as a new class of therapeutics was driven by the ability to produce proteins using cells or organisms in a controlled manner. Transgenes, artificial gene constructs designed to produce protein, are the basic building-blocks in modern biotechnology, including recombinant protein-based therapeutics, gene and cell therapies, DNA vaccines, food protein production, and more. Despite this essential role, current transgene design dates back to the 1970s and there has been little improvement in the fundamental systems behind it, leading to insufficient protein production, a key challenge for the biotechnology industry.
The ExpressionEdits team have redesigned transgenes from first principles and are building a bioinformatics platform to leverage their unique DNA intronization technology (which uses the non-coding regions of DNA called introns) to achieve an order of magnitude improvement in protein expression. The founders, Kärt Tomberg, Liliana Antunes and Allan Bradley, have worked together for the last 2 years in Allan’s lab at Cambridge University to mimic nature and, by introducing introns in mammalian cells initially, are fundamentally redefining the role of non-coding DNA in protein production and creating significant improvements in protein production.
Increasing protein expression in eukaryotic systems has boundless applications throughout the industry, ranging from antibody manufacturing to biochemical synthesis to novel in vivo and ex vivo therapies to the wider synthetic biology industry. Therapeutic markets in these areas range from over $200 billion for antibodies and recombinant proteins to $40 billion for cell and gene therapies. We believe that the ExpressionEdits platform can become the fabric for any protein expression system, from antibody manufacturing to in vivo therapeutics. The most exciting early applications, and where ExpressionEdits will eventually build an internal pipeline, are potentially in recombinant protein or gene therapies that involve complex diseases with particularly hard-to-express proteins.
We’re excited to be backing Kärt and the entire ExpressionEdits team on their ambitious mission.