Genome editing startup raises $120 million to advance CRISPR-Cas9 technology
Editas Medicine is looking to translate the funding into genomic medicines to treat a wide range of conditions.
What would you do with $120 million? Editas Medicine, a startup founded by some of the prominent inventors of CRISPR-Cas9, found itself faced with just that question after a highly successful recent round of private financing.
“With this financing, we have a strong foundation from which we can broadly develop our genome editing platform and advance multiple new therapies toward clinical trials,” said Katrine Bosley, CEO, Editas Medicine.
One of Editas’ current projects involves treating a genetic retinal disease called LCA10 that causes blindness. Using CRISPR scientists from Editas have restored function to photoreceptors taken from human patients in vitro. However, the company is not yet in a position to conduct any clinical trials of its methods.
New biotechnology firms are certainly reaping the benefits of increased interest and excitement around the potential of CRISPR to generate real medical applications. Last year Juno Therapeutics, a company which aims to treat cancer through genetically altered T-cells, raised $175 million just a few months after being established.
The new group of investors was led by Boris Nikolic, M.D, whose extensive CV includes serving as the chief scientific advisor for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Editas have confirmed that Gates was also among the new investors, along with a number of other wealthy individuals that the company has declined to identify.
“Editas Medicine has made great strides in the development of CRISPR-Cas9 technology,” said Dr. Nikolic. “The company is at the forefront of genome editing – one of the most exciting and important frontiers in science. I look forward to joining the board of directors and contributing to the team’s continued growth and success.”
David Bumcrot, Senior Director for Molecular and Cell Biology at Editas Medicine, will be speaking at the Festival of Genomics California 2015 on Coaxing Cas9 Towards Desired Genome Editing Outcomes.