- Feb 8, 2022
- 5 min read
Unlocking Precision Medicine: Our Series A in Watchmaker Genomics
Watchmaker holds the keys to leveraging genomics for human health
By: Justin Butler
Today, the Eclipse team is excited to announce our partnership with Watchmaker Genomics to accelerate its mission of enabling applications focused on the reading, writing, and editing of DNA and RNA to facilitate breakthrough scientific research and improve human health. We are thrilled to participate in the company’s $40M Series A in partnership with Decheng Capital.
Watchmaker is combining the in-depth domain experience of its founders, Trey Foskett, Brian Kudlow, and Stephen Picone, in protein engineering with large-scale enzyme manufacturing to address the demanding quality, performance, and scale requirements of high-growth clinical genomics applications. The lack of high-fidelity biological data has hindered the use of genomics in both the lab and clinical settings. A tremendous amount of information is lost in translation between the collection of biological samples and the digital readout of the genomic information they contain, preventing the true promise of genomics from being realized.
The Watchmaker team is utilizing advanced protein engineering to help gain access to more of that information to enable researchers and clinicians to make better decisions about our care, whether that’s developing new medicines, detecting cancer earlier, or selecting patient-specific treatments. By solving the challenging problem of manipulating and maintaining the integrity of molecular information—DNA and RNA specifically—Watchmaker is helping to expand access to a broader range of sample types, improve assay sensitivity and specificity, and ultimately provide higher quality information necessary to advance truly personalized medicine.
Watchmaker’s approach to this industry is aligned with Eclipse’s core thesis in a very meaningful way. We broadly focus on GDP-moving industries and the intersection of novel technology to transform these industries. Watchmaker exemplifies this thesis by building the infrastructure to translate new science into products. Their infrastructure integrates computational biology, novel protein engineering technologies, and sophisticated manufacturing capabilities to deliver differentiated genomics solutions in a cost-effective and scalable way.
When I first connected with Trey, Watchmaker’s Co-Founder and CEO, and learned more about the founding team’s mission and vision, I was impressed, to say the least. Their experience in next-generation sequencing (NGS) and clinical oncology assay development and their track records of building successful life science companies like Kapa Biosystems, Enzymatics, and ArcherDx has uniquely positioned them to build a leading company in the genomics industry.
There are several defining aspects that set Watchmaker and its approach apart. First, the team builds products with end applications in mind. Because of their extensive market expertise, they understand what problems persist and are able to tailor solutions that specifically address these challenges. This is in contrast to other organizations that develop new technologies and then attempt to understand the market need. Additionally, by leveraging a mixture of technologies—like next-generation DNA sequencing, computer science, and new manufacturing methods—they’re able to get to the right answer faster and more efficiently than other point solutions on the market. Between the team’s level of expertise, Trey’s vision for the future, and the initial traction the team has achieved—all with zero institutional funding—I truly feel the Watchmaker team has what it takes to build one of the most transformational companies in the space.
Since the company’s seed round, the team launched its first product in 2020 and has achieved 175% year-over-year revenue growth. With its Series A financing, Watchmaker will accelerate investment in its core-technology platform to deliver a new suite of products that will help address the demands of clinical sequencing and support emerging applications in single-cell analysis, epigenetics, and cell-free DNA. Watchmaker also will expand commercial channels and manufacturing capacity, which will make these product solutions more broadly accessible to the life science and genomics communities.
Watchmaker is bringing more clarity to the current state of treating many diseases—from diagnosis to new drug development to clinical decisions and treatment—by giving much more information about the genomic information that is governing all the different systems in our bodies. The Eclipse team is excited to work with Watchmaker to unlock information in our biology that will translate to better care and at a cost and scale that can be brought to a broader set of the population.
Congratulations Trey, Brian, Stephen, and the entire Watchmaker team!