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Biotech spinout Wobble Genomics raises £8.5m to reveal the ‘unseen world of RNA’

Wobble Genomics L-R Nicola Broughton, COO; Richard Kuo, Founder and CEO ; and John Duncan, CFO
07 Mar 2024

Roslin Institute spinout Wobble Genomics - whose novel approach to RNA sequencing could revolutionise many fields in biotechnology – has raised £8.5m to help commercialise its technology.

The funding round was led by Mercia Ventures and BGF and backed by IQ Capital, EOS Advisors and Old College Capital (OCC), the University of Edinburgh’s in-house venture investment team. It brings the total amount raised by the company to over £10.5m.

Wobble has found a way to detect previously invisible ‘full length’ RNA. The technology could have wide-ranging applications, from drug development and research to agriculture and ecology.

Current genetic sequencing techniques largely focus on DNA, however it is the RNA molecules which ultimately determine cell behaviour. Therefore, RNA sequencing can provide a better understanding of how cells will react in different situations.

Historically, it has been difficult to use RNA sequencing for many applications due to its inherent instability, complex molecular structure and the abundance of molecules. Wobble’s novel approach overcomes these challenges and enables long-read sequencing, allowing for optimal detection of full-length RNA.

Wobble spun out in 2021 with the support of Edinburgh Innovations, led by Dr Richard Kuo, who spent 10 years researching long-read RNA sequencing at the Roslin Institute. The company, which currently employs a team of 10, expects to double in size in the next two years.

Dr Kuo, Wobble CEO, said:

Genetic sequencing has come a long way since its inception in the 1970s. The industry is now moving past short-read towards long-read sequencing, with long-read RNA sequencing being one of the most exciting new developments in biotechnology.
We believe our solution could accelerate a new wave of biotechnology innovations. We are pleased to receive backing from some of the UK’s leading life science investors, which highlights its potential. The funding will help us to pursue our mission to reveal the unseen world of RNA and unlock exciting new applications. ”

Head of OCC Andrea Young said:

OCC is proud to continue investing in Wobble Genomics, an exciting company whose technology could make a huge difference in how we understand, research, diagnose and treat a wide variety of diseases such as cancer.”

Mercia was investing from its Northern Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs). Lee Lindley of Mercia Ventures said:

Wobble’s technology has far reaching applications including the potential to make precision medicine, and the improved patients outcomes that this would deliver, a reality. It is particularly exciting that, unlike with many early-stage companies, the science behind it is already proven so the funding can be used to further develop and commercialise the technology.”

Jo Smart of BGF said:

Wobble has developed a full stack approach to identifying and analysing RNA markers – an exciting field of research and development in the biotechnology sector – which has the potential to revolutionise the early detection of cancer markers from blood. We look forward to bringing our considerable experience in the life sciences market to support the business as it continues to build further validation and guide how the technology is taken to market.”