Agilent had sued Twist, CEO and Cofounder Emily Leproust, and several other individuals in 2016 in Santa Clara (California) Superior Court, alleging theft of trade secrets related to DNA oligonucleotide synthesis. Last week, the firms announced a settlement where Twist would make a one-time payment to Agilent of $22.5 million in exchange for full relief of the claims, with no admission of liability or wrongdoing by Twist.
The program will aim to develop and evaluate next-generation genomics and informatics tools to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. It will leverage available tools and recent research in genomic technologies, computation, and data science, as well as large genomic datasets, DNA from hundreds of thousands of participants collected and stored in biobanks, and electronic health records.
A pair of companies in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood and Tel Aviv are positioning themselves as the “Wintel” of the bio-hacking era. One company, called Genome Compiler, builds software for designing synthetic life forms, while the other, Cambrian Genomics, is experimenting with ways to cheaply laser print DNA.
Twist Bioscience, a synthetic DNA manufacturer serving a wide range of industries, has announced reaching a settlement agreement regarding a trade secret lawsuit filed by Agilent Technologies in 2016. Under the terms of the agreement, Twist would admit no liability or wrongdoing, and Agilent would fully release the claims being made. Twist will pay Agilent $22.5 million in the agreement.
Numerous innovations have hit life science labs in the past decade, such as new techniques for designing DNA and editing genomes. Yet, researchers still rely on older tools — such as paper notebooks, Excel spreadsheets, and email — to manage data collected from those innovations. This means time is wasted organizing, finding, and duplicating information before even starting new experiments.
Even though DNA sequencing technology is becoming increasingly accessible, it is still difficult to glean helpful information from an individual’s DNA. That is because there is a lack of reference data compiled from other people’s DNA. Most reference data is currently curated by academic institutions and is often compiled in different formats, making it difficult for doctors and researchers to use.
“Our vision is about closing the design-build-test-and-evolve loop,” said CEO Mike Fero, who was a researcher at Stanford focusing on protein localization and who was previously a vice president at a computational genomics company called Neomorphics that was sold to Affymetrix in 2000. “We want to shorten the time frame it takes to get your DNA built and run more experiments.”