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European Innovation Council
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CoNAN projects: new generation of microchip-based tools for genetic analysis

Depixus Biochip
A MAGNA™ CMOS chip wire bonded to a carrier printed circuit board
© Depixus

Depixus® SAS, a France & UK based biotech company, has recently completed a two-phase research project that has significantly advanced the company towards its goal of creating a new generation of microchip-based tools for genetic analysis. This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) and the European Innovation Council (SME Instrument Phase 1 and Phase 2). Depixus’ technology is known as MAGNA™ and has the potential to open new horizons in our understanding of the genetic world. The company has developed a single-molecule magnetic detection and quantification (SIMDEQ) approach which can reveal a wealth of information about DNA and RNA, including their base modifications, molecular structure, and how they interact with other molecules. These capabilities unlock previously unattainable insights into the "dynamic genome" – the layers of information beyond the four-base coding sequences of DNA and RNA that are key to gene expression, regulation, and control.

Over the course of the company’s SME Instrument Phase 1 CoNAN (Complete Nucleic Acid ANalysis) project, a small prototype device was developed that provided an early validation of the company’s new microchip-based approach to genetic analysis, without the need to design and manufacture a CMOS chip. The subsequent CoNAN II project built upon this prototype, providing further proof-of-concept for an ambitious project to develop a high-throughput system, known as MAGNA™ Digital, based on a CMOS chip overlaid with a massive array of electronically addressable micron-scale wells, allowing the parallel analysis of up to millions of DNA or RNA molecules. By increasing the number of nucleic acid molecules that can be analysed in parallel, Depixus can address critical unmet needs in translational research, clinical diagnostics and drug discovery.

Excited by the success of this project, CEO, Gordon Hamilton, said: “The CoNAN projects provided a vital boost to Depixus during our start-up phase, allowing the validation of our unique approach and proprietary MAGNA™ technology. Significantly, the funding allowed Depixus to be well-placed for attracting investment and consequently we have recently announced that Depixus has raised Series A equity funding of €30.6 million to develop the MAGNA™ instrument system towards commercial launch”. 

This highly successful and innovative European research program has enabled Depixus to take advantage of funding targeting the commercialisation of highly promising, innovative technology, that brings both economic, and societal value to Europe. These schemes are especially vital in supporting the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in highly science-enabled industries, such as biotechnology that demand multi-disciplinary solutions to solve complex problems.