China-based Atantares has raised approximately 100m yuan ($13.9m) in a pre-Series A and pre-Series A+ financing round.

The proceeds are expected to finance research and development, service operation, and capacity expansion.

Atantares uses a self-built gene synthesis system and semiconductor technology to develop molecular chips. These chips can be used to detect and synthesise DNA, RNA, and proteins at low costs.

The molecular chips use complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) chip technology, which is battery-powered, and stores the hard drive’s configuration and other information. The company aims to use the technology in high-throughput DNA synthesis.

The company has already developed the first generation of short-chain CMOS chips.

Atantares has also devised an enzymatic biological method, which can be used to complement the CMOS chips to improve enzyme efficiency and automate methods for enzymatic synthesis.

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Dr Kuan Huang, the managing director of Asia Green Fund, which was the lead contributor to pre-Series A funding, said in the press release: “The combination of semiconductor and biotechnology makes gene synthesis and sequencing, these underlying technologies evolve at a speed exceeding ‘Moore’s Law’, which is the core driving force for the rapid development of bio-manufacturing in the 21st century.

“We expect Atantares to continue to overcome difficulties and become a global leader in the strategic competition for underlying technologies like long-chain DNA synthesis and gene storage, etc.”

DNA synthesis and gene storage are used in drug development and discovery. Low-cost and efficient production can help in accelerating drug development.

Recently, there has been an increased interest in harnessing synthetic DNA. To address these companies such as Touchlight, which has supply contracts with Pfizer and Lonza, has expanded its manufacturing capabilities to meet the high demand.

In a separate development, another DNA synthetics company, Camena Bioscience, raised $10m in Series A funding to scale operations and develop its gSynth DNA synthesis platform.