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Twist Bioscience

Twist Bioscience

A DNA synthesis company using a next-generation silicon-based technology platform.

Twist Bioscience was founded in 2013 by Emily Leproust to commercialize a high-throughput semiconductor-based DNA synthesis technology. The company supplies DNA for research and commercial applications of genetic engineering, and is developing additional markets for applications including digital data storage and DNA origami-based biomaterials and nanostructures.

Twist Bioscience can achieve 1,000x improvements in DNA production density by scaling down from the traditional 96-well plate to tiny micro-wells and channels on a silicon chip of the same area. Throughput is greatly increased because semiconductor-based technology allows the chemical reactions necessary for DNA synthesis to be scaled down by a factor of 1,000,000. Twist Bioscience is able to produce 9,600 genes on a single silicon chip using their technology; compared to 1 gene being produced on the same amount of space using traditional DNA synthesis technologies.

In the video below, CEO of Twist Bioscience Emily Leproust, explains the innovations in DNA synthesis technology.

Applications of Synthetic DNA

Application
Description

Chemical Production

Reduce cost of introducing new genes into microorganisms that produce chemicals

Crop Optimization

Improve the throughput and reduce the cost of genetically engineering crops

Data Storage

Indefinitely store large amounts of data in the compact form of DNA

Drug Discovery

Enable more rapid, cheaper protein engineering for drug discovery

Functional Genomics

Lower cost of identifying disease gene targets

Genome Editing

Reduce cost and increase efficiency of CRISPR technology

Products and services

Twist Bioscience offers a variety of DNA synthesis products and services that are summarized below.

Clonal genes​

Next generation sequencing (NGS) verified gene clones with no type II S restriction sequences and custom vector onboarding with verification. There is currently a lower limit of 10+ genes (no upper limit ) to place an order that will be ready within 20 business days.

Product details
Information

Custom cloning

$50/construct

Minimum order

10 genes

Price

9¢/base

Size

0.3-3.2 kb

Turnaround time

20 business days

Vector Options

Twist catalog or custom vector

Combinatorial libraries

Using ​combinatorial libraries for focused mutagenesis offers more flexibility and better representation than degenerate approaches. Specific codons may be excluded, codon ratio can be controlled, and all libraries are NGS verified.

Product details
Information

Delivery and yield

Single tube, 1 ug total

Price

Project-dependent

Product format

Linear double-stranded DNA

Turnaround time

4-6 weeks, project dependent

DNA digital data storage

DNA is being developed as a storage medium for digital data. Twist Bioscience is working with Microsoft and the University of Washington to improve data storage using DNA, and have published research demonstrating high-fidelity storage and random-access retrieval of over 200 MB of data, including an OK Go music video. As the technology matures, DNA could offer a high-density, low-energy, long-term, and secure digital data storage solution. Twist Bioscience explains their work on DNA data storage in their white paper.

Gene fragments​

Gene fragments are non-clonal, and can be used for several downstream cloning methods for assembly into bigger genes or pathways. The error rate on gene fragment production is approximately 1:3000 base pairs.

Product details
Information

Max size

0.3-1.8kb

Minimum order

10 genes

Price

7¢/base

Turnaround time

7-10 business days

Yield

200ng/fragment

Oligo pools​

Oligo pools are made to be diverse collections of oligonucleotides and can be used for applications such as creation of CRISPR sgRNA libraries high-throughput reporter essays. Oligo pools are made to be highly uniform and accurate for maximal oligo representation and have an error rate of approximately 1:1000 nucleotides (nt).

Product details
Information

Minimum order

2,000

Oligo length

Up to 200 nt

Oligo pool size

2,000 to 1,000,000 oligos

Price

Quote

Turn around time

10 days

Yield

>0.1 fmol of each oligo

Site saturation libraries​

Site saturation libraries are precise and diverse when compared to traditional directed mutagenesis techniques. Each saturation library is verified using NGS technology. They come free from unwanted codons and can be made to have specific codon ratios.

Product details
Information

Delivery and yield

Single tube, 1-2ug total. 96 plate well, 1/2 positions per well of 50 ng each. 384 well plate, 1/2 positions per well of 50 ng each.

Minimum order

48 variants

Price

$50/position

Product format

Linear double-stranded DNA

Turnaround time

3-4 weeks, project dependent

Twist human core exome kit​

The Twist human core exome kit is a DNA probe target enrichment kit. It comes with modular high performance DNA probes designed to uniformly and accurately capture sequence depth. The modular kit is simple to integrate into existing lab protocols due to its has many customization options.

Criticisms

The turnaround time for orders is still relatively long compared to other lab-based methods, especially for smaller amounts of DNA. Therefore, in certain instances it is more reasonable for researchers and companies to utilize traditional cloning methods depending on the genes needed for experiments. Slow turnaround time for smaller orders is the primary reason Ginkgo Bioworks acquired Gen9, which brought that function in-house.

In 2016 Agilent filed a lawsuit against Twist Bioscience alleging Emily Leproust, a former Agilent employee, stole trade secrets developed by the company to start the DNA synthesis startup.

Funding

Government grants/awards

On May 27th, 2014 Twist Bioscience received $5.1 million dollars in funding from the Defense Advanced Research projects Agency (DARPA). The contract was awarded to Twist Bioscience under DARPA's Living Foundries program.

Series A

On Feb 10 2014, Twist Bioscience received $9,100,000 in series A funding from Asset Management Ventures (AMV).

Series B

On May 27 2014, Twist Bioscience completed a $26,000,000 series B funding round. Investors include: DARPA, ARCH Venture Partners, Paladin Capital Group, Yuri Milner, and some undisclosed investors.

Series C

On June 10 2015, Twist Bioscience closed a $37,000,000 series C funding round. Investors include: Foresite Capital, ARCH Venture Partners, Paladin Capital Group, Venture Investors, Fidelity Management & Research, Illumina, Joby Pritzker, and Yuri Milner.

Series D

On March 27th 2017, Twist Bioscience closed a $61,000,000 series D funding round. Investors include: Foresite Capital, ARCH Venture Partners, Paladin Capital Group, Fidelity Management & Research, Illumina, Boris Nikolic, Cormorant Asset Management, WuXi Healthcare Ventures, Yuri Milner, Mérieux Développement, ARCH Overage Fund, Nick Pritzker, and Joby Pritzker.

Series E

On June 14th 2017, Twist Bioscience closed a $27,000,000 series E funding round. Investors include: Biomatics Capital, Reinet Fund S.C.A, F.I.S, NFT Investment Limited, KangMei Group, Bay City Capital, GF Xinde Life Science Investment Fund, 3W Partners Capital, and Ditch Plains Capital Management LP.

Private placement

On April 3rd 2018, Twist Bioscience received $50,000,000 in funding from private investors.

Partnerships

Desktop genetics

In June 2016, Twist Bioscience became partners with Desktop Genetics, a company using AI to create CRISPR screens. The partnership focuses on developing and integrating DNA synthesis tools to design research protocols that enhance gene editing research. Desktop Genetics works with their customers to design CRISPR sgRNA libraries for a cell line before sending this information to Twist Bioscience for sgRNA library synthesis. This partnership aims to reduce cost and improve efficiency of gene editing research.

BioBricks Foundation

In June 2017, the BioBricks foundation partnered up with Twist Bioscience on the Free Genes project, an initiative to create an open-source library of 10,000 genes that form biological parts important for synthetic biology. Twist Bioscience will be providing all the DNA that will be used for the project, and BioBricks will assemble a library of useful genes using its team and drawing on support from the scientific community. All genetic constructs created through this partnership will be made freely available to the public through the Open Material Transfer Agreement, which allows any recipient to use, modify, combine, copy, and redistribute the genes (in compliance with applicable biosafety and intellectual property laws).

Quintara Biosciences

In July 2017, Quintara Bioscience and Twist Bioscience became business partners, announcing they will be working together to create qBlock Gene Fragment and qGene DNA cloning services. Twist Bioscience will combine their silicon DNA synthesis technology with Quintara Bioscience's sequencing and cloning technologies to deliver gene fragment and cloning services.

Synbio Technologies

Twist Bioscience and Synbio Technologies became partners on July 11th, 2017. The partnership seeks to combine technologies being used at both companies, by offering DNA strands up to 70 kilobases in length. Twist Bioscience will synthesize DNA strands up to 3.2 kilobases in length before shipping them off to Synbio Technologies for completion. This partnership gives both companies more international presence: Twist Bioscience in located in San Francisco, and Synbio Technologies is in China, so by working together they plan to be able to offer improved DNA strand products that enhance scientific research for the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Company Patents

Patent Description
Inventor
Status
Date
App/pub number

William Banyai, Bill James Peck, Andres Fernandez, Siyuan Chen, Pierre Indermuhle, Cheng-Hsien Wu, Esteban Toro

Application

2016-02-11

WO2016022557A1

Cheng-Hsien Wu

Application

2016-11-17

US20160333340A1

Esteban Toro, Sebastian Treusch, Siyuan Chen, Cheng-Hsien Wu

Grant

2017-06-13

US9677067B2

William Banyai, Bill James Peck, Andres Fernandez, Siyuan CHEN, Pierre Indermuhle

Application

2015-05-28

WO2015021080A3

William Banyai, Bill James Peck, Andres Fernandez, Siyuan Chen, Pierre Indermuhle, Eugene P. Marsh

Application

2016-10-27

US20160310927A1

Bill James Peck

Application

2017-03-23

US20170081716A1

Bill James Peck,Pierre Indermuhle, Eugene P. Marsh, Andres Fernandez, David Stern

Grant

2018-02-20

US9895673B2

Pierre F. Indermuhle, Eugene P. Marsh, Andres Fernandez, William Banyai, Bill J. Peck

Application

2016-08-11

US20160229884A1

Anthony Cox, Sebastian Treusch, Siyuan Chen

Application

2017-03-23

US20170081660A1

Mergers/acquisitions

Genome Compiler

On April 6th, 2016 Twist Bioscience acquired the Israeli software company Genome Compiler for an undisclosed price. Twist plans to use Genome Compiler's software developers and technology to build an an e-commerce platform that allows customers to create their own gene designs online before ordering, and to leverage their strong software development team for future projects.

Timeline

Private Placement Funding

On April 3rd, 2018 Twist Bioscience received $50,000,000 in funding from private investors.

Synbio Technologies Partnership

​Twist Bioscience and Synbio Technologies became partners on July 11th, 2017. The partnership seeks to combine technologies being used at both companies, by offering DNA strands up to 70 kilobases in length. Twist Bioscience will synthesis DNA strands up to 3.2 kilobases in length before shipping them off to Synbio Technologies for completion. This partnership gives both companies more international presence, Twist Bioscience in located in France, and Synbio Technologies is in China, and by working together they are able to offer improved DNA strand products that enhance scientific research for the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Quintara Biosciences Partnership

In July 2017, Quintara Bioscience and Twist Bioscience became business partners, announcing they will be working together to create qBlock Gene Fragment and qGene DNA cloning services. Twist Bioscience will combine their silicon DNA synthesis technology with Quintara Bioscience's sequencing and cloning technologies to deliver gene fragment and cloning services.

Series E Funding Round

June 14th, 2017 Twist Bioscience received $27,000,000 after completing their series E funding round. Investors include: Biomatics Capital, Reinet Fund S.C.A, F.I.S, NFT Investment Limited, KangMei Group, Bay City Capital GF Xinde Life Science Investment Fund, 3W Partners Capital, and Ditch Plains Capital Management LP.

Biobricks Foundation Partnership

In June 2017, the BioBricks foundation partnered up with Twist Bioscience to create a library of 10,000 genes that form biological parts important for synthetic biology. Twist Bioscience will be providing all the DNA that will be used for the project, and BioBricks will assemble a library of useful genes using its team and drawing on support from the scientific community. Everything created through this partnership is based on a Open Material Transfer Agreement that allows anyone to have free access to the genes.

Series D Funding Round

​On March 27th, 2017 Twist Bioscience received $61,000,000 after completing their series D funding round. Investors include: Foresite Capital. ARCH Venture Partners, Paladin Capital Group, Fidelity Management & Research, Fidelity Management and Research Company, Illumina, Boris Nikolic, Cormorant Asset Management, WuXi Healthcare Ventures, Fidelity Management, Yuri Milner, Merieux Developpement, ARCH Overage Fund, Foresite Capital Management, WuXi, Corporate Venture Fund, Nick Pritzker, and Joby Pritzker.

Desktop Genetics Partnership

​In June, 2016 Twist Bioscience became partners with Desktop Genetics — a company using AI to create CRISPR screens. The partnership focuses on developing and integrating DNA synthesis tools and to design to design research protocols that enhance gene editing research. Desktop genetics works with their customers to predict sgRNA CRISPR libraries for a cell line before sending this information to Twist Bioscience for sgRNA library synthesis. This partnership claims to aim to reduce cost and improve efficiency of gene editing research.

Acquisition of Genome Compiler

On April 6th, 2016 Twist Bioscience acquired the Israeli software company Genome Compiler for an undisclosed price. Genome Compilers software developers and technology will allow Twist Bioscience to build an an ecommerce platform that allows customers to create their own gene designs online before ordering; and have a strong software development team for future projects.

Series C Funding Round

On June 10, 2015 Twist Bioscience received $37,000,000 after completing their series C funding round. Investors include: Foresite Capital, ARCH Venture Partners, Paladin Capital Group, Venture Investors, Fidelity Management & Research, Illumnia, Joby Pritzker, and Yuri Milner.

Series B Funding Round

​On May 27, 2014 Twist Bioscience received $26,000,000 after completing their series B funding round. Investors include: DARPA, ARCH Venture Partners, Paladin Capital Group, Yuri Milner, and some undisclosed investors. ​

Government Grant From DARPA

On May 27th, 2014 twist Bioscience received $5.1 million dollars in funding from the Defense Advanced Research projects Agency (DARPA). The contract was awarded to Twist Bioscience under DARPA's Living Foundries program.

Series A Funding Round

​On Feb 10, 2014 twist Bioscience received $9,100,000 in funding from Asset Management Ventures (AMV) .

Twist Bioscience founded

People

Name
Role
Related Golden topics

Bill Peck

Chief Technology Officer

Billy Banyai

Chief Operating Officer

Emily Leproust

Founder

Emily Leproust

Chief Executive Officer

Mark Daniels

Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer and General Counsel

Patrick Finn

Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Patrick Weiss

Senior Vice President of Operations

Paula Green

Vice President of Human Resources

William Banyai

Founder

Further reading

Author
Title
Link
Type

Alan Boyle

UW, Microsoft and Twist Bioscience double down on DNA data storage experiments

Christine Stevenson​

Ginkgo Bioworks Triples the Size of DNA Supply Agreement with Twist Bioscience​

Jennifer Alsever

Could Synthetic DNA Be the Next Tech Breakthrough?

Kevin Costa

Why the future will be written in DNA: An interview with Twist Bioscience's Bill Peck - SynBioBeta

Staff Reporter

Twist Bioscience, Desktop Genetics Form CRISPR Partnership​

Twist Bioscience press release

Twist Bioscience’s Partnership with Biobricks Foundation Accelerates Synthetic Biology Discovery

Documentaries, videos and podcasts

Title
Date
Link

Custom CRISPR Screening Libraries WEBINAR

November 22, 2017

Emily Leproust Making DNA from Scratch​

August 2nd, 2017

​Writing DNA - Emily Leproust, CEO of Twist Bioscience

December 9th, 2016

Companies

Company
CEO
Location
Products/Services

Twist Bioscience

Clonal Genes

Twist Bioscience

Combinatorial Libraries

Twist Bioscience

Twist Human Core Exome Kit

Twist Bioscience

Gene Fragments

Twist Bioscience

Oligo Pools

Twist Bioscience ​

Site Saturation Libraries

References