Gen9, a Cambridge gene synthesis firm, gets $21m investment from Agilent Technologies

Agilent Technologies Inc. has made a $21 million investment in Gen9 Inc., a Cambridge company specializing in gene synthesis.

George Church. Photo taken from the website of Harvard Medical School.

Customers can potentially use Gen9’s technology to more efficiently make everything from fabrics and chemicals to drugs and renewable fuels. According to Gen9, methods using its technology are more cost-effective than traditional methods.

Headquartered in California, Agilent is a $6.9 billion company focused on chemical analysis, life sciences, diagnostics, electronics, and communications.

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In a press release, Agilent said its partnership with Gen9 complements Agilent’s existing investments in synthetic biology and gene synthesis.

Agilent is taking an equity stake in Gen9.

“Gen9 was founded to significantly increase the world’s capacity to cost-effectively generate high-quality DNA content for use in transforming industries ranging from chemical and enzyme production to agriculture, biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and even data storage,” Gen9 president and chief executive Kevin Munnelly said in a statement.

Gen9 was founded in 2009 by Joseph Jacobson of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, George Church of Harvard Medical School, and Drew Endy of Stanford University.

Gen9’s investors include Draper Fisher Jurvetson, the Kraft Group, and PBM Capital Group.

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