Primordial Genetics and Denovium Collaborate to Impact the Diagnosis, Prevention & Treatment of Human Diseases

By May 6, 2020April 30th, 2021No Comments

The Research is Supported by the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health 

Primordial Genetics, a synthetic biology company, and Denovium Inc., an artificial intelligence company, are collaborating to develop novel and more efficient enzymes for DNA synthesis to ultimately impact the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of human diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, HIV and genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis. The research and development project is supported by the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health through a $374,424 awarded grant. 

DNA synthesis has played a key role in the production of novel cells, enzymes, therapeutics, diagnostics and other reagents of commercial value. However, the predominant chemical strategies used are costly and do not meet the demands of a booming synthetic biology market. Scalable and alternative methods are required to overcome the limitations of the current chemical technology that is over 40 years old. Synthetic biology and AI enable new possibilities to make enzymatic DNA synthesis faster, more efficient and more distributed.

“The combination of Primordial Genetics’ combinatorial genetics tools for evolution of superior enzymes and microbes and Denovium’s powerful sequence prediction algorithms for solving biological challenges could lead to rapid advances in the way DNA is made and produce fundamental breakthroughs that accelerate genomic and genetic research and development,” said Primordial Genetics founder and CEO Helge Zieler, PhD. 

Primordial Genetics will use its Function Generator technology, a highly differentiated empirical approach for enzyme improvement which creates a vastly larger sequence space for diversifying enzyme sequences than competing technologies. Denovium will apply its multidimensional deep learning approach through the Denovium Engine™, a highly specialized AI genomics application combining AI-guided discovery with AI-guided protein engineering that is unique in the industry. 

“It is the uniqueness of our technologies that give us high confidence that we can achieve dramatic results and leapfrog the progress that other companies have made in the enzymatic DNA synthesis space,” added Toby Richardson, PhD, founder and CEO of Denovium Inc. 

The teams will study the isolation and development of novel enzymes suitable for enzymatic DNA synthesis, and also for creating a pipeline of enzyme optimization tools. The enzymes discovered will be directly useful for enzymatic DNA synthesis applications, and can be licensed or sold to leading DNA and gene manufacturers.

Phase I of the project will deliver an enzyme that partially meets commercial specifications and validates the combined tools of the two companies. Phase II will develop the best terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferases into a commercially viable DNA synthesis reagent. This project will deliver a next generation DNA synthesis approach that will solve the limitations of cost, length and sustainability of current common processes.

The NIH awarded grant number is R43HG010995.  The project is slated to be completed by the end of 2020. 


Primordial Genetics was founded in 2011 with the goal of developing novel industry-relevant enabling genetic technologies, and building the premier company for microbial genetic improvement. Our ultimate goal is to be able to shape the genetics and characteristics of useful organisms and useful biomolecules rapidly and flexibly. Function Generator™, our platform technology, is broadly capable of developing novel and advanced traits in microbes used for the production of useful compounds ranging from fuels and chemicals to pharmaceuticals and enzymes. The technology also represents a novel way for optimizing enzymes with higher catalytic efficiency, improved temperature tolerance, altered substrate specificity, and resistance to inhibitors. We are passionate about engineering superior novel microbes that lead to a healthy, sustainable planet. For more information, visit:


Headquartered in San Diego, California, Denovium is an artificial intelligence company pioneering novel AI methods to accelerate innovation in biopharma. Founded in 2018 by genomics and computer science experts, Denovium is building a state-of-the-art AI platform, the Denovium Engine™, towards protein discovery, evolution, and de novo design. Denovium is partnering with leading biotech and pharma companies in a wide range of applications including drug discovery, therapeutics production, genomic medicine and next-generation diagnostics.  For more information visit