Wobble Genomics raises £8.5m to reveal the ‘unseen world of RNA’

Wobble Genomics, a spin-out from the University of Edinburgh that is pioneering a novel RNA sequencing technique, has secured £8.5 million in funding to commercialise its breakthrough technology.

The investment was spearheaded by Mercia Ventures and BGF, with additional support from IQ Capital, EOS Advisors, and Old College Capital, the university's own venture fund.

Operating in stealth mode, Wobble Genomics has developed a method for detecting 'full length' RNA, which was previously undetectable. This innovation has the potential to transform a variety of fields within biotechnology, including drug research and development, agriculture, and ecology. Genetic sequencing is crucial for understanding cell behaviour, with current methods mainly focusing on DNA. However, RNA plays a key role in dictating cell behaviour, making RNA sequencing a vital tool for gaining insights into cellular responses under different conditions.

Traditional RNA sequencing has faced challenges due to RNA's instability, complex structure, and the presence of numerous molecules. Current 'short-read sequencing' techniques can only measure small RNA fragments, missing crucial information. Wobble's approach facilitates long-read sequencing, enabling the detection of entire RNA strands.

Founded in 2021 by Dr Richard Kuo, a bioengineering and biology expert with over 15 years of experience and a decade of research in long-read RNA sequencing at the Roslin Institute, Wobble Genomics currently has a team of 10. The company anticipates doubling its size within the next two years. This recent funding round increases the total investment in Wobble to more than £10.5m.

Dr Kuo, who is the company’s CEO, said: “Genetic sequencing has come a long way since its inception in the 1970’s. The industry is now moving past short-read towards long-read sequencing, with long-read RNA sequencing being one of the most exciting new developments in biotechnology. We believe our solution could accelerate a new wave of biotechnology innovations. We are pleased to receive backing from some of the UK’s leading life science investors, which highlights its potential. The funding will help us to pursue our mission to reveal the unseen world of RNA and unlock exciting new applications.”

Lee Lindley of Mercia Ventures added: “Wobble’s technology has far reaching applications including the potential to make precision medicine, and the improved patients outcomes that this would deliver, a reality. It is particularly exciting that, unlike with many early-stage companies, the science behind it is already proven so the funding can be used to further develop and commercialise the technology.”

Jo Smart of BGF said: “Wobble has developed a full stack approach to identifying and analysing RNA markers – an exciting field of research and development in the biotechnology sector – which has the potential to revolutionise the early detection of cancer markers from blood. We look forward to bringing our considerable experience in the life sciences market to support the business as it continues to build further validation and guide how the technology is taken to market.”