DeskGen – a company resulting from hard work at Wychfield

DesktopGenetics team

Two Trinity Hall graduates, Victor Dillard (2011) and Edward Perello (2011), along with former Wychfield-resident Riley Doyle (Hughes Hall 2011) have founded  Desktop Genetics Ltd, a bioinformatics company aiming to revolutionize the way genetic engineers work together.

The company has developed Autoclone™, an automated software platform and database that enables the optimal design, construction, management and exchange of DNA constructs, to be deployed in vector/plasmid manufacturing, genome-editing, protein production and synthetic biology work flows. It sources the DNA sequences needed to build any new DNA specified by the user; and therefore enhances research productivity by reducing the lengthy and expensive process by which DNA is synthesized.

They founded the company in October last year whilst completing their MPhil in Bioscience enterprise and have already won numerous business plans awards – including the Carpe Diem Life Science Start-Up of 2012 from Cambridge University Entrepreneurs.

Last month they were pleased to announce that they secured an equity investment of £275,000. The investment will be used to (i) expand the functionality of the AutoClone™ platform through internal R&D programs and in conjunction with industrial partners; (i) develop a cloud version of the product to be launched following a beta trial to be held in Q4, 2013; (iii) establish business development, sales, and marketing functions that will enable the serving of customers in Europe and the USA.

The investment comes from Boundary Capital Ltd, Execute Technologies Inc, and angel investors Richard Youngman, Michael Martin (both of Anvil Partners LLP), Dr Jonathan Milner (CEO, AbCam Plc) and Dr Darrin M Disley (CEO, Horizon Discovery Ltd). The receipt of the investment further unlocks a Technology Strategy Board grant for an additional £100,000.

The company have also announced the appointment of Dr Darrin Disley (TH 1991) as non executive chairman. Darrin is a parallel business entrepreneur in the life science and technology sectors. He is CEO of Horizon Discovery Ltd, Entrepreneur in Residence at the Judge Business School and Enterprise Fellow at the Dept. Chem. Eng. & Biotech and the Principal funder of the Carpe Diem Trust.

“I am very happy to have led the investment in DeskGen and look forward to working with the management team in my role as non-executive Chairman. I have been working with the founders since they were students on the Masters in Bioscience Enterprise degree. The team exemplar the best of Cambridge University talent combining a fierce intellect, drive and ambition to do good in the world. We live in a golden age of biology and the AutoClone™ platform being developed by DeskGen will ensure the availability and high-quality DNA constructs that are essential to unlock the potential of the human genome project for the benefit of life science research, medical discovery and society.”

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