Twist Bioscience Launches Synthetic RNA Positive Controls for SARS-CoV-2 Encapsulated in Imagene’s Stainless Steel Capsules

23 March 2022

Twist Bioscience Corporation , a company enabling customers to succeed through its offering of high-quality synthetic DNA using its silicon platform, today announced the launch of specific synthetic RNA positive controls for SARS-CoV-2 encapsulated in proprietary stainless steel minicapsules provided by Imagene SA. The airtight minicapsules provide a stable environment for the RNA controls, allowing cost-effective shipping and storage at room temperature of fragile RNA for an extended period. In particular, we believe this product enhancement will enable Twist to serve customers in regions that do not have an effective cold chain system or easy access to ultra-cold storage and also may allow the use of the controls in point of care settings.

“The global COVID-19 pandemic remains a threat in many parts of the world, particularly those countries that have not had access to sufficient quantities of vaccine. In these, and in fact, in all regions of the world, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is fully established and is still a threat to large populations,” said Emily M. Leproust, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of Twist. “Our synthetic RNA controls help identify, test for, and track SARS-CoV-2 variants. With these new encapsulated versions, we now have the ability to ship and store anywhere in the world, serving every community with a more cost-effective, longer-term solution to help monitor and control this ongoing crisis.”

This is an expansion of Twist’s first agreement with Imagene in July 2019 to use Imagene’s DNAshell technology for the long-term storage of digital data encoded in DNA, with the DNA remaining stable for thousands of years. Using Imagene’s encapsulation technology, Twist now has the ability to ship and store both DNA and RNA products anywhere in the world for long periods of time. Stable shipping and storage is particularly important for inherently unstable molecules such as RNA which rapidly breaks down at room temperature and typically requires ultra-cold storage at temperatures of -80° C. Maintaining this temperature requires specialized equipment with significant energy requirements.

“Twist understands the value of our microcapsules for nucleic acids long term storage. This is particularly true for the fragile RNA molecules,” commented Sophie Tuffet, Ph.D., CEO and chairman of Imagene. “Imagene’s and Twist technologies meet the needs of diagnostic laboratories to have stable and standardized reference materials. In particular, RNAshell provides a reliable packaging with an unparalleled guarantee of stability. It also offers the possibility of single use. The ability to store nucleic acids at room temperature without energy requirement provides tremendous benefit for applications like data storage or pandemic response and we look forward to an active relationship with Twist on both fronts.”

The Twist synthetic controls are designed based on specific SARS-CoV-2 variants, cover the full viral genome and are sequence-verified. For customers interested in alternative variants of SARS-CoV-2, or synthetic RNA or DNA controls for other sequences, Twist can provide custom controls in multiple formats. Twist also offers a suite of research tools, including next-generation sequencing (NGS) products for SARS-CoV-2 as well as a broad respiratory panel and a comprehensive viral panel.

Customers purchasing synthetic controls are subject to Twist’s leading biosecurity screening protocols and applicable laws and regulations.

About Imagene

Imagene is a leading company in the field of room temperature preservation of nucleic acids and other biospecimens. Imagene's robust technology is based on the confinement of desiccated nucleic acid molecules under an anoxic and anhydrous inert atmosphere inside airtight, laser-engraved, stainless steel minicapsules. This allows to distribute and store natural or synthetic nucleic acids at room temperature without limit of time, without energy cost and without cold logistics making them ideally suited for DNA and RNA references for molecular analyzes. Imagene’s technology efficiently addresses storage issues for research, healthcare, and industry. Imagene is both a service provider and instrumentation supplier.

About Twist Bioscience

Twist Bioscience is a leading and rapidly growing synthetic biology and genomics company that has developed a disruptive DNA synthesis platform to industrialize the engineering of biology. The core of the platform is a proprietary technology that pioneers a new method of manufacturing synthetic DNA by “writing” DNA on a silicon chip. Twist is leveraging its unique technology to manufacture a broad range of synthetic DNA-based products, including synthetic genes, tools for next-generation sequencing (NGS) preparation, and antibody libraries for drug discovery and development. Twist is also pursuing longer-term opportunities in digital data storage in DNA and biologics drug discovery. Twist makes products for use across many industries including healthcare, industrial chemicals, agriculture and academic research.

Legal Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained herein are forward-looking statements reflecting the current beliefs and expectations of management made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other important factors that may cause Twist Bioscience’s actual results, performance, or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. For a description of the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to Twist Bioscience’s business in general, see Twist Bioscience’s risk factors set forth in Twist Bioscience’s Quarterly Report Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 9, 2022 and subsequent filings with the SEC. Any forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date hereof, and Twist Bioscience specifically disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Angela Bitting
SVP, Corporate Affairs
Twist Bioscience
[email protected]