Sestina Bio, a new company creating a platform for automated synthetic biology, today announced that it has launched with seed funding from Foresite Capital, General Inception, and OMX Ventures. The funds will be used to further the development of its digital cellular engineering and phenotyping platforms and support initial product development. The firm is the first company to launch from incubator Foresite Labs.
Practitioners of synthetic biology aim to engineer novel living organisms — usually yeast and bacteria — that produce new materials, fine and bulk chemicals, and pharmaceuticals, or which act as sensors that report on their environment. By combining new instruments for single cell genome editing, tools for single cell phenotyping, and closed-loop, machine learning-driven design and control of experiments, Sestina is developing the next generation of the automated synthetic biology toolkit. Sestina will harness these tools to rapidly and deterministically engineer new biological capabilities and produce novel products across several verticals.
“Biology is intrinsically messy and non-modular. So-called rational approaches to genetic engineering are often little better than educated guesses. These efforts are presently scaled up through huge investments in expensive automation tools that operate in macroscopic wells and plates. By harnessing digital tools that manipulate cells in microscopic droplets and microchannels, our company is creating a platform to address this challenge,” said Bill Colston, founder and CEO of Sestina Bio.
“Sestina Bio will transform synthetic biology from a bespoke enterprise that uses room-scale automation to one that operates with great finesse, at the level of single cells,” said Dr. Vikram Bajaj, CEO of Foresite Labs. “The unprecedented dimensionality implied by the ability to deeply modify, individually follow, and functionally characterize single cells will make biology look more like an engineering discipline.”
About Sestina Bio
Sestina Bio, a Foresite Labs company, is creating a new platform for automated synthetic biology. Sestina aims to address some of the largest challenges of our time, harnessing the power of biology to help sustainably feed, clothe, and treat the world’s population. Our approach is to integrate or invent new tools for genome editing, single cell biology, and machine learning to transform our ability to engineer and harness new biological functions. For more information about Sestina Bio, please visit www.sestinabio.com.
About Foresite Labs
Foresite Labs supports the next generation of healthcare entrepreneurs who are creating innovative companies that transform the way that we discover and develop new medicines, and the way that we deliver care to patients and populations in need. Foresite Labs systematically applies the tools of data science to accelerate the development of products that improve human health. For more information about Foresite Labs, please visit www.foresitelabs.com.