News21.01.2022

DvH Ventures invests seven-figure sum in Broken String Biosciences

  • Broken String automates the analysis of so-called “off-target effects” of gene therapies via a software platform and thus takes a key position in the therapy of serious diseases
  • The data generated by the analysis helps pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies at an early stage of the development of gene therapies
  • Target customers are global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies working on gene therapies as well as university research institutions
Dr. Felix Dobbs, Founder & CEO Broken String Biosciences

With our recently launched EUR 60 million Digital Health fund, we are investing a seven-figure sum in Broken String Biosciences Limited from Cambridge, UK, as part of their seed round. Broken String is the third investment from our Digital Health Fund after Virtonomy and Health Caters. The company has found a solution for the so-called “off-target problem” in gene therapies and is able to automate this solution via a software platform.

The market for cell and gene therapies is growing strongly: from €1.1 billion in 2020, the value is expected to increase more than 20-fold to €27.9 billion in 2026, of which approximately €8 billion will be specifically in the area of gene editing therapies. For this area, a solution to the off-target problem is essential. Broken String offers pharmaceutical companies and university research institutions the solution as a service on a software platform.

"Broken String has developed a technology that will create a unique data set that will fundamentally change genetics research through software models. The founding team convinced us from the beginning with their very high expertise in the field of genetics and the entrepreneurial exploitation of scientific findings," said Fabian von Trotha, Managing Partner at DvH Ventures.

Broken String was founded in 2020 from a research project at Cardiff University. The founding team consists of Dr. Felix Dobbs, Prof. Simon Reed, Simon Kerr and Dr. Patrick van Eijk. Simon Reed (CSO) is a Professor in Cancer Research at Cardiff University and has over 25 years of experience in DNA research with particular expertise in developing test methods in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies. Felix Dobbs (CEO) is a molecular biologist and genomics researcher with a PhD from Cardiff University (UK). Simon Kerr (Chair & COO) has 25 years' experience in various biotech and pharmaceutical companies in a wide range of commercial leadership roles. He has been a VC investor in the digital health space for five years. Patrick van Eijk (CTO) has a PhD in Molecular Genetics and conducts research at Cardiff University. He has ten years of experience as a Bioinformatician and Data Scientist in the field of genomics and molecular biology.

"The vision of the founding team of Broken String is unique. They have laid the foundation for a paradigm shift in genetics research with their patented technology and developed a scalable business model. We at DvH Ventures are proud to support the founding team in their venture," said Dr. Cihat Cengiz, Senior Associate at DvH Ventures.
"We are delighted that DvH Ventures has invested in our vision of building a technology platform to drive the development of cell and gene therapies that are safer by design. Their experience and strategic guidance has already helped us to build out the team and to navigate the complexities of forming partnerships with customers. With their support, we are now moving to the next stage of company growth that will bring transformative and fundamentally safer cell and gene therapies to patients."

Co-investors in the seed round are Tencent Seed Fund, Time Boost Capital as well as First In Ventures.

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