There’s a new biotechnology spin-out from the University of Washington, and the company is already raising cash to get its technology off the ground.
Split Biosciences, which also goes by Split Bio, just raised a $1.2 million seed round. In an email to GeekWire, the company declined to identify the investors in the round, but did share details of its technology.
Split is developing a new method of sequencing cells’ RNA, the messenger molecules that communicate genetic instructions to proteins.
“In recent years, single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) has seen explosive growth both within academia and pharmaceutical companies. However, despite the widespread adoption of scRNA-seq in basic research and discovery, high costs and low throughput have limited its uses for many applications,” Charlie Roco, Split’s co-founder, said in the email.
To combat this, Split has created a faster sequencing process called SPLiT-seq. It was developed in the lab of synthetic biology professor Georg Seelig by Roco and Alex Rosenberg, two researchers at the lab. All three are co-founders of Split Bio.
Traditionally, single-cell sequencing requires that all cells in a given sample — a biopsy of a tumor, for example — be physically separated before their DNA or RNA is sequenced. SPLiT-seq sidesteps that problem with new technology.
“SPLiT-seq leverages a combinatorial barcoding scheme to perform single-cell labeling of molecules without the need for cell isolation,” Roco said. “This ultimately enables researchers to scale up in both samples and cell numbers.”