$25m for genome editing start-up
25.04.2014 - Crispr Therapeutics has raised $25m in a series A investment. With the money, the newly formed Swiss biopharma company plans on translating its gene editing technology into medicines for genetic diseases.
The CRISPR/Cas9 system can be programmed with RNA to cut DNA within the genome, allowing the deletion, insertion or correction of individual genes. With the help of these enzymes, scientists and clinicians can adapt specific target genes, to tackle both recessive and dominant genetic diseases. Crispr Therapeutics, a Swiss start-up specialising in the CRISPR technology, now aims to use the platform for the development of medicines for human diseases, after securing the rights to the foundational intellectual property covering the use of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing in human therapeutics. US investor Versant Ventures is financing the endeavor with $25m. Tom Woiwode, venture partner of Versant Ventures, explained: “We believe that Crispr Therapeutics has immense potential, as it is uniquely positioned to translate this technology into human therapeutics, thanks to its foundational intellectual property and its multi-disciplinary team of experts, including senior industry executives, world-renowned academics, and clinicians.”
The company also announced their founding team comprising interdisciplinary scientists specialised on CRISPR/Cas9, genome editing, stem cell biology, advanced drug delivery technologies, RNA interference and gene silencing. The team includes renowned scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, among others. One of the members and co-inventor of the CRISPR/Cas9 technology, Emmanuelle Charpentier, a professor at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research and Hannover Medical School, Germany and the Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine at Umeå University, Sweden, commented: “CRISPR/Cas9 has truly democratised genome editing, with many areas of research being transformed due to the technology’s ease of use and broad applicability. The collective efforts of the broader academic research community are in turn driving tremendous progress in the field.”