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Posted: Jun 09, 2014

Applied Ventures Broadens Portfolio with Strategic Biotechnology Investment

(Nanowerk News) Applied Ventures, LLC, the venture capital arm of Applied Materials, Inc. and a leading corporate venture firm, announced today that it has participated in a Series B financing round for Twist Bioscience Corporation, an advanced biotechnology company developing a proprietary semiconductor-based technology platform for synthetic gene manufacturing. Twist's manufacturing process is intended to enable large-scale, high-throughput construction of genetic designs that aim to overcome industry inefficiencies by synthesizing DNA on silicon instead of traditional plastic. The funds provided by Applied Ventures will be used to collaborate on platform development and enable next-generation silicon-based technologies with improved throughput, quality and cost. The investment also presents an opportunity for Applied Materials to leverage its expertise in precision materials engineering to add value to cutting-edge and potentially disruptive applications in emerging biotechnology markets.
"Applied Ventures' investment in Twist underscores our investment strategy to use our core strength in precision materials engineering to promote innovation wherever it happens across the world," said Eileen Tanghal, general manager of Applied Ventures. "We are excited to expand our portfolio to include bioscience technology applications and look forward to helping commercialize Twist's sophisticated technology to enhance personalized healthcare and agriculture production as we know it."
Twist's innovative 10,000-well silicon-based manufacturing platform is capable of producing synthetic biology tools, such as oligonucleotides, genes, pathways, chassis and genomes. By transitioning the industry from existing plastic and glass substrates to silicon, the company's technology has the potential to accelerate the development of personalized medicine, sustainable chemical production, improved agriculture production and related new applications such as in vivo diagnostics, biodetection and data storage.
"We believe Twist's proprietary semiconductor-based DNA synthesis process using a silicon platform will provide increased speed, quality and throughput, as well as reduced cost, to the design/build/test research cycle for developing better biologics, diagnostics, industrial chemicals and agbio products," said Emily Leproust, Ph.D., chief executive officer, Twist Bioscience Corporation. "Applied Ventures' investment bolsters our financial position and provides us a strategic partner with exceptional expertise in precision materials engineering to assist our aggressive development efforts to commercialize our first products in 2015."
Since forming in 2005, Applied Ventures has invested over $180 million in more than 50 portfolio companies spanning equipment, materials, device and process providers in the clean energy, semiconductor, display, lighting and energy storage sectors. In 2013 alone, the group invested more than $18 million, including six new investments in early stage technology companies.
About Applied Ventures
Applied Ventures, LLC, a subsidiary of Applied Materials, Inc., invests in early and later-stage technology companies with high growth and long-term potential that provide a window into technologies that advance or complement Applied Materials' core expertise in precision materials engineering. Applied Ventures' investments help develop technologies and markets that provide natural extensions of Applied Materials' businesses and can stimulate the growth of applications for its products and services. Applied Materials, Inc. is the global leader in providing innovative equipment, services and software to enable the manufacture of advanced semiconductor, flat panel display and solar photovoltaic products. Learn more at www.appliedventures.com.
Source: Applied Materials (press release)
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