We spoke to Chief Operating Officer Dr Rebecca Godfrey about how ExpresionEdits was started, what it is currently working on and how its experience at The EpiCentre has helped it grow the business and move on to the next phase of its expansion.

How Was the Company Started?

The company – ExpressionEdits – was founded in 2021 by Dr. Kärt Tomberg, Professor Allan Bradley and Dr. Liliana Antunes. We are a spin-out from the University of Cambridge laboratories of Professor Bradley, a world-renowned researcher and entrepreneur, where Kärt was completing her post-doctorate and where she developed the basis of what is now ExpressionEdits’ proprietary methodology. This methodology has been shown to significantly improve transgene expression; transgenes are artificial gene constructs which are used across all modern biotechnology.

During the past 18 months at The EpiCentre, we have been developing what we call the ‘ExEd Engine’ which automates and optimizes this proprietary method; built using millions of biological measurements, coupled with machine learning, to establish the rules for optimal recoding. This technology has a potential impact on recombinant protein yields and the quality and efficacy of DNA medicines.

Why Did you come to The EpiCentre?

We arrived at The EpiCentre in the summer of 2022 just as the company became operational.

The demand for space in Cambridge over the last few years has been so incredibly high and expensive that we needed to look further afield. The amount of space that we have here at The EpiCentre was not available in Cambridge at the time.

The reason The EpiCentre was so attractive was because of the flexibility of the agreements it gave us in dedicated labs and offices, together with the well-equipped shared laboratories spaces that are provided. This includes expensive pieces of laboratory equipment that wouldn’t be cost effective for us to buy ourselves. So having a space where we can have the support of the shared labs facility was invaluable.

What’s worked for you while you have been at The EpiCentre?

The EpiCentre is really a plug-and-play solution from a business point of view. There is one license fee, and it is very clear what is and what isn’t included. Where we have required additional services, whether it be additional storage, liquid nitrogen, additional shelving in the store-rooms, even additional space, then that can easily be put in place enabling us to grow the business in a measured way, which is not available in many other locations. Here we have taken advantage of that flexibility, the mix of having lab and office space, and have now grown to 10 members of staff.

Another major plus has been the use of the meeting room facilities on the ground floor, and the included reception area that gives the right image for our small but growing company. We can give a professional impression and welcome to our guests, it’s a feature that’s rare to just have included in the overall package.

Science aside – what else did you like?

The business eco-system at The EpiCentre has been invaluable and we have taken advantage of the regular free networking events and workshops enabling us to connect with others in the biotech and wider business field. Having that community support has been most helpful and we always felt that the EpiCentre management team cared about the success of our company. The coffee shop downstairs has been a great meeting hub where we could chat with other occupiers who were facing the same growing experience as us.

Sum it all up

The EpiCentre has allowed us to come in from ground zero, going from two empty offices and three empty labs to being able to build up those labs to be fully operational providing us with the flexibility to extend our services as we needed.

We could go straight to the EpiCentre team to work out with them how they could help us meet our business needs. They have been excellent throughout and it has been an absolute pleasure working with them and we will really miss them.

But we are entering the next stage of our growth. We’re moving to bigger labs where we are going to put that AI engine to work.

Without the flexibility, facilities and support from the team at The EpiCentre we wouldn’t have been able to embark on the next stage, so soon in our growth journey.