Harvard startup, Editas Medicine -- biotech pioneer in 'gene editing' -- launches with $43M in VC cash
Three of the industry's leading discovery-stage venture groups have come up with a $43 million commitment to back a crew of marquee thinkers in the genomics field to launch Editas Medicine, a biotech exploratory vehicle that will set out to pioneer a new field of drug development. And they're already fielding queries from some potential collaborators interested in staking out a claim of their own to see how this platform will take shape.
Talk about cutting-edge technology. Cambridge, MA-based Editas is focused on gene editing, what Polaris Partners' principal and Editas interim President Kevin Bitterman refers to as molecular surgery. The work centers on the discovery of the CRISPR/Cas system, in which a host bacterial cell incorporates short bursts of DNA sequences from invaders that can trigger disease. It's been described as an adaptive immune system and investigators have been fascinated by the therapeutic potential of splicing DNA with their own custom-designed sequences to correct a gene, essentially rewriting genetic coding in the body in order to fix what ails it.