Biotech startup raises Series A funding to build out the world’s largest database of canine DNA for genetic disease research
Boston, MA (April 10, 2019)—Boston-based Embark Veterinary Inc., the world leader in dog genetics, announced today that it raised $10 million in Series A funding, a milestone that enables the young biotech company to build on its early consumer success and expand its research in canine health and genetic disease. Dog DNA has inherently fewer privacy concernsand dogs’ faster generation times can lead researchers to a more rapid pace of discovery thanpossible in human genetic studies. Canine DNA research, historically underfunded, is now nipping at the heels of human genetics research, with Embark leading the pack.
“Owners want to know all about their dogs – not just the breed, but the genetic markers thatcan shed light on possible diseases they may face in the future,” said Ryan Boyko, Embark’s CEOand co-founder. “Embark provides that critical information with comprehensive and accuratetesting that is unique in canine genetics. Some of the most common diseases found in dogs are genetic conditions – bladder stones, heart disease, and cancer can be traced genetically. This round of funding allows us to move faster to provide more information to existing customers while doubling down on research to ensure that all the dogs live healthier lives.” In 2018, Embark tripled its database, now numbering in the hundreds of thousands of canine DNA samples. It’s the only canine DNA test that looks at the dog genome with as much resolution as human DNA tests look at the human genome. Embark plans to use the funding to expand its team, doubling in size over the next year.
This round of funding was led by F-Prime Capital, with participation from previous investors including Slow Ventures, Section 32, Third Kind Venture Capital, Freestyle Capital, FJ Labs, and Anne Wojciciki, CEO of 23andme.
“Embark has rapidly made significant strides in canine health,” said Carl Byers, partner, F-PrimeCapital. “They’re a company founded by scientists who are combining scientific researchprinciples with an easy-to-understand consumer interface that is changing the way we approach caring for our dogs.” Embark’s Dog DNA Test consistently ranks highest in the marketfor dog DNA tests and is also used by thousands of dog breeders to make informed breeding decisions.
Founded in 2015 by brothers Ryan and Adam Boyko, in partnership with Cornell UniversityCollege of Veterinary Medicine, Embark uses a simple swab of a dog’s mouth to test for morethan 170 health conditions. Embark is the only canine genetics company that uses a research- grade DNA genotyping platform, similar to those that back human direct-to-consumer genetictests. “We took the approach that dogs are cherished family members, and deserve theaccuracy and health potential being created for people. So, we built a genetic test that provides accuracy and actionability for our customers. By doing this, we’re creating a genetic databasethat can make key veterinary discoveries possible like never before. Our customerssimultaneously improve the lives of their dogs today and every dog born in the future,” saidRyan Boyko.