Seattle biotech hub pursues ‘DNA typewriter’ tech with $75M from tech billionaires

The Seattle Hub for Synthetic Biology (the Hub), a new biotech company specializing in self-monitoring cells, received $75 million to support its collaboration with University of Washington Medicine, the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative and the Seattle-based Allen Institute.

The funding will support the company’s next five years of operations, which will involve combined academic and commercial efforts to develop the self-monitoring cell technology. The Hub aims to use DNA to store information by engineering cells with recording systems, giving researchers a deeper look into the life of a cell.

“Biology happens out of sight and over time,” said Jay Shendure, the Hub’s scientific lead. “With microscopy or even your naked eye, you’re looking at the system, but you’re limited in what you can see… If we want to look at all the things a cell experiences over time, that’s something we can’t see.”

The collaboration and its technology are in early stages, but all organizations involved pledged to share their developments with other scientists to promote progress and innovation.

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