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Cambridge Enterprise joins in the new funding, which will support the cost of free at-home DNA testing kits for 3,000 people affected by long COVID.

Three co-founders of Sano Genetics: William Jones, Charlotte Guzzo and Patrick Short Sano Genetics co-founders and leadership team (l to r): William Jones, CTO, Charlotte Guzzo, COO, Patrick Short, CEO

Sano Genetics has raised £2.5 million in seed funding led by Episode1 Ventures, alongside Cambridge Enterprise, Seedcamp, January Ventures, and several UK, Europe, and US-based angel investors.

Having raised £500,000 in a 2018 pre-seed round, the company’s digital platform and at-home genetic testing capabilities are already empowering greater participation in crucial research into multiple sclerosis, ankylosing spondylitis, NAFLD, and ulcerative colitis. Sano Genetics has a research programme for Parkinson’s disease on its agenda for later in 2021.

This latest funding round—coupled with a grant from Innovate UK—will cover the cost of free at-home DNA testing kits for 3,000 people affected by long COVID. It will also pay for the continued development of Sano Genetics’ ‘private-by-design’ tech platform, which gives users full control and transparency around how and where their personal data is used by researchers.

The company was co-founded in 2017 by Patrick Short, Charlotte Guzzo, and William Jones (pictured above) who met at the University of Cambridge while studying genomics as postgrads. They observed, first hand, the high failure rate of clinical trials and the poor experience for those taking part. “We urgently need more people contributing to medical science, but the gap between those wanting to take part and actually knowing how to is huge”, explains Charlotte Guzzo, now COO of Sano Genetics. “The scientific community has long relied on time-starved doctors signposting patients to clinical trials, which just isn’t an effective way to get decent levels of participation. The pandemic has added further challenges, as many patients with rare and chronic diseases are unable to safely leave home.”

Sano Genetics has also partnered with Genomics England to develop software to be used by national-scale precision medicine initiatives and improve the participant experience in research. The programme will add an important layer of information reported directly by participants, such as daily symptom tracking, or via wearable devices that monitor activity or sleep.

This tranche of funding will help us further develop the end-to-end experience for the many people keen to contribute to personalised medical research, including clinical trials of potentially life changing medicines and, in doing so, improve the outlook for people living with chronic and often debilitating conditions.

Charlotte Guzzo, COO, Sano Genetics

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Inset image credit: Sano Genetics