Enhanc3d Genomics held an Open Day at its new premises in the Jeffreys Building in St John’s Innovation Park last week.
Founded in 2020, Enhanc3d is an outgrowth of Dr. Stefan Schönfelder and Professor Peter Fraser’s Leading Laboratory for 3D Genome Organization Research at the Babraham Institute. It was in the first batch of Start Codon accelerators, moved to Park from the Milner Institute and was shortlisted this week Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards 2023.
Enhanc3D’s mission is to unlock the full potential of 3D organization of the human genome for target and biomarker discovery. The company’s proprietary disruptive technology, deployed in its GenLink3D platform, focuses on the unknown non-coding regions that make up 98 percent of the human genome to identify the three-dimensional genetic interactions that drive disease susceptibility and progression.
Before opening at the new Jeffreys Building facility, which has a team of 20 and includes wet labs, CEO Debora Lucarelli said the founders still have a lot to share.
“Stefan is currently involved as CSO with the company and Peter chairs the scientific advisory board,” said Deborah. “They are both involved with the company and regularly join lab meetings, board discussions, and company events.”
GenLink3D identifies what these non-coding regions of the human genome are to do. When these 3D interactions are mapped out, what happens next?
Deborah replies, “These interactions are present in our genome and play an important role in gene regulation.” “They determine the life cycles of our cells, from transcription to cell death. We detect them using a lab test called HiC stimulus capture. We analyze the data using a variety of algorithms, and have created a 3D genome atlas.
“The new maps allow us to linearly correlate distal regulatory elements and overlay multigenome and genome sequencing data, to ultimately identify previously uncharacterized target and biomarkers. We functionally validate the selected candidates and generate data packages for use in target discovery and patient stratification.”
Is GenLink3D fully functional?
“The first version of GenLink3D is up and running,” says Deborah. “We are now working on the next phase of development and using the investment to expand our business.”
This investment is a Series A round, which was led by BGF and Parkwalk Advisors, raising £10m in October 2022.
The funds will be used to “rapidly generate deep datasets of novel diagnostic signatures and candidate therapeutic targets across multiple immunology-related diseases for endogenous and exogenous development.”
Deborah joined the company earlier that year – in May – from a Director position at Cambridge Epigenetics. Prior to that, she was the head of the laboratory in the Epidemiology Unit at the Medical Research Center. How did her relationship with Enhanc3d Genomics come about?
Professor Fraser is a recognized pioneer and pioneer in the study of chromatin engineering. It was a pleasure meeting him and Stephan in 2019. They have been developing technology for nearly a decade and I wanted to support their desire to translate the platform into an application that can benefit therapeutic development and ultimately impact patient care.”
What are the reasons for leaving Milner?
“Milner is set up to support companies in their early stages and we have been honored to work with them during the first couple of years, particularly during [early] covid period. We are now at a point where we need dedicated infrastructures to support our laboratories and bioinformatics pipelines, and we also need to accommodate a team of about 20 people.”
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