A new company spun out from the University of Edinburgh could help boost the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of diseases by unlocking new potential from RNA sequencing.
Wobble Genomics has been launched with Edinburgh Innovations’ support and an investment of £1.2 million, led by St Andrews-based Eos Advisory alongside Old College Capital, the University’s in-house venture investment fund, which is managed by EI.
This investment will form part of a £2.15 million seed round including a deeptech venture capital firm, and a small number of private investors.
The company’s founder and CEO, Richard Kuo, a researcher at the University’s Roslin Institute, has developed biochemical and software technologies that greatly increase the efficiency and accuracy of RNA sequencing.
RNA sequencing has emerged in recent years as a key technique for studying gene expression, which can give scientists and clinicians unprecedented insights into disease.
Dr Barbara Blaney, Senior Enterprise Executive at EI, said:
“Wobble Genomics’ disruptive, next-generation platform dramatically reduces the time and cost of performing RNA sequencing, while also improving accuracy.
“Ultimately the technology could revolutionise how we understand, research, diagnose, treat and monitor a huge variety of diseases.”
Mr Kuo has been a client of EI since 2019. He has received a range of support to commercialise his research, including assistance with successful applications for funding, and support as he incorporated Wobble Genomics.
Wobble received a £100,000 grant from Scottish Enterprise’s High-Growth Spin-Out Programme in 2020, and recently secured a £300,000 grant from Innovate UK.
Mr Kuo said:
“There is a huge global market of scientists and clinicians who would buy our products as part of their sequencing work.
“On top of this, we plan to target a higher value market by leveraging our existing technologies with the overall aim of being the first global company to build a picture of disease states that are encoded in RNA.”
Improved clinical outcomes
Wobble is already conducting trials with some of the world’s largest RNA sequencing organisations. The investment is supporting the expansion of the Wobble team, strengthening its intellectual property, and will help to drive sales and demonstrate Wobble’s ability to improve clinical outcomes.
Andrew McNeill, Managing Partner at Eos Advisory, said:
“Richard is already a globally respected researcher in RNA sequencing and now has the ability to build a team to commercialise novel approaches that address the big issues and understanding of this exciting field of life science.
“The importance of RNA sequencing and its role in enabling clinicians to understand disease has only just been recognised over the last couple of years.
“This investment sits at the heart of what Eos works for – backing the very latest and most promising innovations that have the potential to have a positive impact globally.”
Nicola Broughton, formerly an Investment Director at Mercia Asset Management PLC and a specialist in university spin-outs, was appointed Wobble’s Chair in July. John Duncan, founding director of Alba Equity, took up the role of Finance Director in April.
The name Wobble Genomics relates to a characteristic of how RNA is translated into proteins. The company is based at the Roslin Innovation Centre at the University’s Easter Bush Campus.
Photograph: from left, Andrew McNeill, Managing Partner at Eos Advisory; Nicola Broughton, Chair of Wobble Genomics; Richard Kuo, Founder and CEO of Wobble Genomics; and John Duncan, Finance Director at Wobble Genomics. Photograph by Stewart Attwood.