A passion for genomics: founder journey.

Updated: May 18, 2018

While developing synthetic biology technology for gene and genome synthesis, Tuval Ben Yehezkel kept hitting a wall - finding a way to quickly and affordably perform high-throughput sequencing of full length viral genomes. In other words, how can we quickly and affordably read the genomes that we are writing? Existing long read sequencing tech was too expensive - needing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for new long read sequencing machinery and equipment - and short read sequencing just wasn’t able to provide the long read information needed for characterizing long DNA fragments. Being a synthetic biologist and lover of cracking molecular biology puzzles, Tuval got to work to come up with a new process for getting long read sequences using short read sequencers - synthetic long reads was the answer.

With the new process, centered on barcoding each DNA molecule with a unique identifier, it was possible to disperse a barcode throughout a single clone of DNA molecules use de novo assembly to reconstruct long reads from short read sequences. All this from a sample prep kit and no additional hardware. A revolution in sequencing was born.

With this new concept in hand, Tuval moved his family to Silicon Valley to join the winter 2016 class of Y Combinator. Participating in YC was absolutely critical to getting things started. Not only did YC provide a network of biotech entrepreneurs and advisors, but they also believed in the concept enough to be the first investors. Loop Genomics then went on to broaden its scope of technologies and applications by exclusively licensing technology developed by researchers from Stanford University, ASTAR and Michigan State University, which were developing complementary synthetic long read sequencing technologies.

Three years and countless hours in the lab later, Tuval and his team are proud to bring their first products to the market - LoopSeq 16S Microbiome and LoopSeq 16S & 18S Microbiome. These microbiome sample prep kits are empowered with Loop’s most recent advancements in synthetic long read sequencing. These include full length 16S (and/or 18S) reads for more accurate species classification, eliminating PCR bias for more accurate microbiome quantification and the latest in sample prep multiplexing technology, which mean less time in the lab because you can now multiplex 24 microbiome samples in a single tube.

Tuval and the team are excited to scale these first offerings and invest in applications beyond the microbiome. With a fresh series A from Y Combinator, Khosla Ventures, and Wilson Sonsini (among others), Loop is positioned to bring synthetic long reads to labs around the world.

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