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IDT at 35: Where we’ve come from, where we’re headed

From our start in a high-tech lab to our stature as a leading provider of tools and solutions, IDT remains committed to excellence, quality, and innovation
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The takeaway: Integrated DNA Technologies is celebrating its 35th anniversary as a provider of advanced genomic tools and solutions. Here’s a look at where we’ve come from and where we are headed.

In 1987, Joseph A. Walder, who had an MD and a PhD from Northwestern University, founded Integrated DNA Technologies based on breakthrough genomic science and the idea that custom nucleic acids could be created faster and more accurately than before.

Walder created IDT through a partnership with Baxter Healthcare and nestled it in a business incubator at the University of Iowa Technology innovation Center. In its first 10 years, IDT grew from a startup with just 10 synthesizing machines to having more than 500, shipping tens of thousands of custom oligos each day to customers around the world. Over the years, IDT grew from a regional leader to an international powerhouse, and in 2018 the company was acquired by Danaher Corporation, a move that allowed IDT to access Danaher’s support and business growth tools. In the past few years, IDT has made acquisitions of its own—first of Swift Biosciences, and more recently of Archer RUO assays.

What is IDT’s mission?

IDT has always been committed to enabling discovery in medicine and biology, and doing so by improving nucleic acid synthesis technology and creating new applications for use of our RNA and DNA compounds. While the products and tools have changed, the core purpose has remained the same—helping scientists answer research questions. Today, IDT serves more than 130,000 life sciences researchers in more than 100 countries and produces more than 90,000 nucleic acids daily.

What sets IDT apart from other oligo manufacturers?

From the beginning, IDT has enabled genomic research by utilizing an oligo manufacturing process that is not found anywhere else in the industry, boasting the most advanced synthesis, modification, purification, and quality control capabilities available. Dr. Walder's dedication to leveraging innovation, quality, and genomics expertise allowed the company to establish its legacy and subsequently expand into key areas such as next generation sequencing, CRISPR, synthetic biology, and PCR to equip researchers with powerful, precise, and effective research tools. IDT added to these capabilities by helping to drive science forward with increased quality, volume, and efficiencies.

Today, the rapid pace of technological evolution means that scientists on the leading edge of translational research face new challenges as they seek to secure the custom solutions that can help advance research out of the lab and into the clinic. These emerging barriers are slowing the pace of critical discoveries and delaying innovation that could positively impact human and ecological health. To challenge this, IDT has expanded production facilities and capabilities to include ISO 13485 and cGMP manufacturing grades. This means customers gain a genomics solutions partner who can support their entire research journey, from RUO to cGMP. This, combined with collaborations with key industry partners, means we are positioned to help customers, partners, and collaborators help fuel the greatest genomic breakthroughs of our time, and do everything form create more effective vaccines to address addressing world hunger and climate change, and drive new diagnostics and therapeutics for complex diseases.

Where is IDT headed?

IDT’s new mission—accelerating the pace of genomics—honors our legacy and represents our commitment to the pursuit of new ideas that rapidly scale solutions to fulfill our shared vision of enabling researchers to rapidly move from the lab to life-changing advances.

Today, IDT envisions a future where researchers can harness advancements and collaborations to focus on genomics breakthroughs. IDT’s focus areas include:

  • Infectious disease research, including SARS-CoV-2 and monkeypox
  • Inherited disease research, including sickle cell and cystic fibrosis
  • Cancer research
  • Diagnostic research
  • Environmental, sustainability, and agbio solutions
  • Gene and pathway studies
  • Drug discovery

Today, IDT’s portfolio has grown to include industry-leading tools and solutions, including:

  • DNA and RNA products, including custom oligos, oligo pools, and Affinity Plus DNA and RNA oligos
  • PCR and qPCR products, including those for gene expression, genotyping, and custom qPCR probes
  • Genes and gene fragments such as eBlocks™ Gene Fragments and gBlocks™ and gBlocks™ HiFi Gene Fragments
  • CRISPR tools and solutions, including Cas9 and Cas12, custom guides, HDR donor blocks and oligos, and the rhAmpSeq™ CRISPR Analysis System
  • Next generation sequencing tools and solutions, including xGen™ library prep and adapters, amplicon sequencing, hyb capture, Archer solutions, and library normalization
  • Optional service including HPLC purification and GMP, OEM, and integrations

What’s truly inspiring for me is hearing from fellow colleagues about how their personal lives have been personally impacted by the scientific discoveries IDT has enabled; and the life-enhancing therapies our research customers are working on. It’s bigger than us and it’s exhilarating to get to be a part of the story.

“Now more than ever, collaborating with research partners who are united in a shared mission to accelerate the pace of genomics is becoming increasingly critical to advancing the future of medicine,” said Demaris Mills, IDT’s president. “If I could inspire a movement, it would be to unlock the promise of genomic medicine. We are currently at an inflection point where we are realizing the tremendous impact we can all make together in the expanding area of genomic medicine—to improve patient outcomes, accelerate more scientific breakthroughs, and advance our understanding of biology and disease to improve human health. I am excited to see how this new era of genomics will transform healthcare as we know it today, for generations to come, and serve the greater good.”

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