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2020 in Review: All COVID, all the time (well, almost)

December 30, 2020

As we are quickly approaching the end of 2020, we’re taking a moment to look back at the year — all 237 months of it. While we hope to never go through another year like this one, we can’t help remembering that the worst of this year brought out some of the best in science. We have been simply awestruck at how the scientific community rallied in response to the worst public health crisis of our lives, surmounting obstacles that sometimes seemed impossible.

Here at Codex DNA, we are proud to have contributed to this remarkable effort. As early as February, we supported research partners and expanded access to our BioXp™ system to help streamline vaccine design. A customer at the University of Washington was able to go from placing his order, to constructing vaccine candidates, to immunizing mice in only eight business days. As we know, it was synthetic biology that made it possible to get to completed vaccine trials within the year.

Additionally, we turned to our fleet of in-house instruments to build the first synthetic SARS-CoV-2 genome, which allowed scientists around the world to study COVID-19 safely, without having to navigate the biosecurity infrastructure required to work with such a dangerous pathogen. Since that first genome build, we have kept pace and generated several more genomes to reflect the various strains and mutations seen in the pandemic.

As our CEO Todd Nelson said when the latest genomes were made commercially available, “Codex DNA is built on technology originally developed for pandemic preparedness applications. Our entire team has been fully committed to helping researchers battle the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Despite the pandemic, there have been some real highlights this year. We launched a new model of our automated platform for synthetic biology workflows — the BioXp™ 3250 system — which can produce larger DNA fragments with stunning accuracy. This new platform was recently selected as one of the year’s Top 10 Innovations by The Scientist. We also made significant progress towards our goal of a digital-to-biological converter (DBC) platform — the vaccine printer of the future — which we envision will play an integral part in containing outbreaks locally, shutting them down before they have the opportunity to burst into terrifying global pandemics.

We hope that you, too, can look back at 2020 and find bright spots of your own. From the entire Codex DNA team, we wish a healthier, safer new year to all.

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