Spanish startup Seqera Labs has raised $5.5 million (€4.7M) in seed funding in a round co-led by European venture capitalists Talis Capital and Speedinvest.

Existing investor BoxOne Ventures also participated in the round. A grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, founded by Mark Zuckerberg and Dr Priscilla Chan to support essential open-source software in science, is included in the funding.

WHAT IT DOES

Seqera Labs provides data orchestration and workflow software for life sciences. The spin-out from the Centre for Genomic Regulation was founded in 2018 by the creators of open-source workflow and data orchestration software, Nextflow.

Its core technology enables scientists to assemble and deploy scalable data analysis pipelines in multi-cloud environments. The software deployment model aims to ensure data never leaves an organisation’s infrastructure boundary and enables computation to be moved to the data.

During the pandemic, the software was applied to global SARS-CoV-2 sequencing efforts. Sequencing centres and experts collaborated to develop pipelines for the analysis of COVID-19 samples using Nextflow’s platform which led to the identification and surveillance of variants including Alpha and Delta. 

The platform is responsible for processing the UK’s COVID data, which makes up around 25% of COVID data globally.

Seqera works with six of the world’s largest pharma companies, and is moving into the personalised oncology space, working with biotech firm Gritstone bio.

WHAT IT’S FOR 

The company will use the funding to further develop its technology and grow its North American presence.

THE LARGER CONTEXT

Earlier this year, a new centre for enhancing local genomic research and treating patients with genetic disorders opened in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

During the pandemic, UAE-based artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing company Group 42 announced it was working with the UK’s Oxford Nanopore Technologies, to develop technology which would rapidly and accurately detect SARS-CoV-2.

ON THE RECORD

Evan Floden, CEO and cofounder at Seqera Labs, said: “The last decade has seen an intensified demand for tools that can manage and process complex data. From personalised immunogenic vaccines to new diagnostics, our customers are performing work paramount to our global health.”

Paolo Di Tommaso, CTO and cofounder at Seqera Labs, said: “This backing enables the project to tackle new, bigger challenges. We are working to bring all our users innovative solutions while maintaining a strong link to the project’s core values of openness, agility, scalability and interoperability.”

Kirill Tasilov, principal at Talis Capital, said: “Nextflow is already a ubiquitous solution in this space and Seqera is driving those capabilities at an enterprise level – and in doing so, is bringing the entire life sciences industry into the modern age. We’re thrilled to be a part of Seqera’s journey.”

Arnaud Bakker, principal at Speedinvest, said: “Seqera’s open and cloud-first framework provides an advanced tooling kit allowing organisations to scale complex deployments of data analysis and enable data-driven life sciences solutions.”

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By seohan