A $120 million investment in Editas is the largest financial investment made yet in a CRISPR-Cas9 startup..
Intellia Therapeutics and CRISPR Therapeutics (both of which have operations in Cambridge) were both formed after Editas, and both have made strides as well:
* Intellia raised a $15 million Series A last year and then cut a broad collaboration with Novartis in January.
* CRISPR Therapeutics raised $64 million in April in a round that was led by Celgene and the venture arm of GlaxoSmithKline.
* Caribou Biosciences of Berkeley, CA, too, is part of the fray, having recently raised an $11 million Series A of its own.
The Cambridge-based Editas Medicine $120 million Series B round was led by Bill Gates’s chief advisor for science and technology, Boris Nikolic. The list of financiers teaming with Nikolic reads like a rolodex of so-called crossover investors, who invest in both public and private entities, and corporate venture arms. Among them: Deerfield Management, Viking Global Investors, Fidelity Management and Research, T. Rowe Price Associates, Google Ventures, Jennison Associates, Khosla Ventures, EcoR1 Capital, Casdin Capital, Omega Funds, Cowen Private Investments, and Alexandria Venture Investments. Editas’ founding VC backers—Flagship Ventures, Polaris Partners, and Third Rock Ventures—also pitched in, as did Partners Innovation Fund.
* Editas has a potential treatment for a form of leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), a genetically driven blindness
* Editas’s has immuno-oncology work with Juno
* Editas has done some very early work in Duchenne muscular dystrophy and is exploring ways to repair a mutant hemoglobin gene—something that could have an impact in a range of bleeding disorders.
Editas will add significant numbers to its roughly 40-person staff, refine its strategy, and using some of the $120 million to bring several programs to clinical testing.
SOURCES - Xconomy