University of Washington spinout Split Bio raised $560,000 in bridge financing to fund the manufacturing of kits that allow scientists to perform high throughput single-cell RNA sequencing. The new money brings Split’s total amount raised to $2 million, following a $1.2 million round last year and a $225,000 award from the National Science Foundation’s seed fund. Split declined to disclose its investors.
“We offer the most scalable single-cell platform while remaining the only commercial solution that does not require the use of a custom instrument,” Split co-founder and CTO Charles Roco told GeekWire in an email. “This funding will aid in production scale up of our Whole Transcriptome kit while also contributing to research and development of follow on applications and future products.”
Split was started to take advantage of a rapid increase in single-cell RNA sequencing at drug companies and within academia. The startup’s technology, SPLiT-seq, was developed at the UW 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.
Several large companies sell kits for single-cell RNA sequencing, including Illumina, Dolomite Bio and 10x Genomics, which went public last week.
Split is betting that it can compete through scalability and ease of use. “Split Bio’s solution gives users flexibility in their experimental design by allowing them to fix and store cells after sample extraction rather than requiring users to proceed directly to single cell barcoding. This makes it possible to collect biological samples across different days but process all the samples together using a single kit,” the company said in a press release.
The startup has five employees and is hiring for computational biologists, scientists and research associates.