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Element Raises $276M in Series C Financing for DNA Sequencing Platform

Element Biosciences said today it completed a $276 million Series C financing whose proceeds are intended to fund the launch of the company’s next-generation DNA sequencing platform as well as scale its commercial operation.

The latest financing accounts for more than half of Element’s total capital raised, bringing that total to approximately $400 million.

Element said its sequencing solution is designed to reduce the cost of genomic applications while materially improving quality by retooling the fundamental elements of a DNA sequencing system—including surface chemistry, sequencing chemistry, detection, and data analysis—for research and diagnostic users.

“Element will provide researchers with innovative technology choices and more flexible tools for scientific exploration,” Molly He, PhD, co-founder and CEO of Element Biosciences, said in a statement. “We are working to realize our vision of dramatically expanding access to high quality, low cost, easy-to-use genomics tools.”

The company is also working to bolster its executive suite. Four days ago, Element announced the appointment of Diana King as vice president of customer support, a position in which she will oversee the company’s customer support and services strategy. And in April, Element welcomed Jeff Journey as chief commercial officer, David Melaugh as general counsel, and Jeff Labbadia as vp of operations.

To raise the Series C, new investors Janus Henderson Investors, Logos Capital, Meritech Capital Partners, Counterpoint Global (Morgan Stanley), and T. Rowe Price joined existing investors Fidelity Management & Research Company, JS Capital Management,  RA Capital Advisors, Venrock, and Foresite Capital.

Before launching Element, He was a venture partner with Foresite Capital. Previously, she served as Illumina’s senior director protein engineering and enzymology, and earlier held the position of head, protein sciences with Pacific Biosciences.

Earlier this month, He was named a finalist for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2021 Pacific Southwest-San Diego Awards, recognizing excellence in entrepreneurship. And in December, He addressed “Labs, Leaders, Critical Connections,” a virtual meeting the Rosalind Franklin Society, whose founder and executive vice president is GEN founder and CEO Mary Ann Liebert.

Speaking with GEN earlier this year, He discussed the falling cost of next-gen sequencing: “The cost per data point has gone down so quickly thanks to Illumina’s success,” she said. “Illumina’s highly parallelizable sequencing technology enabled orders of magnitude more data in the same run. In addition, innovations in material sciences, enzymology, and chemistry have allowed significant cost reduction in reagents.”

Element completed a $15 million Series A financing in June 2019, and raised $80.3 million in Series B capital in a first close in January 2020—followed in June 2020 by a second close that added $30 million to the round.

Founded in 2017, Element is headquartered in San Diego, where it occupies a 30,000-square-foot facility in University Towne Center. The company has additional operations in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“Element has developed a differentiated, modular, platform-based approach that reinvents all aspects of a DNA sequencing solution,” stated John Stuelpnagel, DVM, chairman of the Element Biosciences Board of Directors and a co-founder of Illumina. “The company has the vision and executional roadmap needed to support current and emerging opportunities in the genomics research market.”

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