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London Tech Week

Wobble Genomics snaps £8.5M to discover new biotech applications with RNA

Wobble Genomics team
Picture credits: Wobble Genomics

Genetic sequencing offers a way to understand the behaviour of cells. Current techniques largely focus on DNA, however, it is the RNA molecules that ultimately determine their behaviour. While RNA sequencing can provide a better understanding of how cells will react in different situations, it has been difficult to use it for many applications due to the inherent instability of RNA, its complex molecular structure, and the abundance of molecules. 

As current techniques known as ‘short-read sequencing’ can only measure small fragments of RNA which does not capture important information, Wobble Genomics comes with an approach to overcome these challenges and revolutionise many fields in biotechnology. 

Snaps £8.5M funding 

The University of Edinburgh spin-out has snapped £8.5 million to help commercialise its technology. The funding round was led by Mercia Ventures and BGF (invested in Kooth and ViaNautis) and backed by IQ Capital, EOS Advisors, and Old College Capital, the university’s venture fund.

The latest funding round brings the total amount raised by the company to date to over £10.5 million. It will help them pursue their mission to reveal the world of RNA and unlock new applications. In addition, Wobble Genomics, which currently employs a team of 10, expects to double in size in the next two years.

Discovers nucleic acid biomakers

Wobble Genomics was established in 2021 by Dr Richard Kuo, who has over 15 years’ experience in biology and bioengineering, including over 10 years carrying out research into long-read RNA sequencing at the university’s Roslin Institute.

The company specialises in maximising RNA and DNA sequencing efficiency for the discovery and detection of nucleic acid biomarkers. It combines biochemistry with bioinformatics to provide integrated solutions for its users. 

The company, which is currently operating in stealth mode, has found a way to detect previously invisible ‘full-length’ RNA. The technology could have wide-ranging applications, from drug development and research to agriculture and ecology.

Dr Kuo, who is the company’s CEO, said: “Genetic sequencing has come a long way since its inception in the 1970’s. The industry is now moving past short-read towards long-read sequencing, with long-read RNA sequencing being one of the most exciting new developments in biotechnology. We believe our solution could accelerate a new wave of biotechnology innovations. We are pleased to receive backing from some of the UK’s leading life science investors, which highlights its potential. The funding will help us to pursue our mission to reveal the unseen world of RNA and unlock exciting new applications.”

Lee Lindley of Mercia Ventures added: “Wobble’s technology has far reaching applications including the potential to make precision medicine, and the improved patients outcomes that this would deliver, a reality. It is particularly exciting that, unlike with many early-stage companies, the science behind it is already proven so the funding can be used to further develop and commercialise the technology.”

Jo Smart of BGF said: “Wobble has developed a full stack approach to identifying and analysing RNA markers – an exciting field of research and development in the biotechnology sector – which has the potential to revolutionise the early detection of cancer markers from blood. We look forward to bringing our considerable experience in the life scences market to support the business as it continues to build further validation and guide how the technology is taken to market.”

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