Genome editing company Editas gets infused with $120M

Steven Loeb · August 10, 2015 · Short URL:

Investors in the company include Google Ventures, Khosla Ventures and Bill Gates

We like to complain about the world a lot, but this really is such a cool time to be alive. We are coming up with amazing technology at a more rapid pace than likely any other time in history, finding amazing ways to solve problems that have plagued us for centuries.

Take Editas Medicine, for example. It is a genome editing company that attempts to use CRISPR/Cas9 technology to target diseases by enabling precise and corrective molecular modifications at the genetic level. Basically it wants to alter a person's genes to help them stay healthy.

I think that's pretty cool stuff, and so do investors, who poured $120 million into the company on Monday. 

The list of investors is pretty long. So long, in fact, that they formed a U.S.-based investment company, just to put money into Editas, called bng0. The new investor syndicate was led by Boris Nikolic, M.D., who is managing director of the company.

Other investors included Deerfield Management, Viking Global Investors, Fidelity Management & Research Company, funds and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price Associates, Google Ventures, Jennison Associates on behalf of certain clients, Khosla Ventures, EcoR1 Capital, Casdin Capital, Omega Funds, Cowen Private Investments and Alexandria Venture Investments.

Editas had previously raised $43 million in Series A venture capital financing led by Flagship Ventures, Polaris Partners and Third Rock Ventures with participation from Partners Innovation Fund. All of these investors participated in the new round as well.

Nikolic most recently served as chief adviser for science and technology to Bill Gates at bgC3, the private office of Bill Gates, and at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Though he is not named as an investor, the company has confirmed to Forbes that Gates also participated in the funding round for Editas. 

Based in Cambridge, and founded in 2013, the company states its mission as wanting to "translate its genome editing technology into a novel class of human therapeutics that enable precise and corrective molecular modification to treat the underlying cause of a broad range of diseases at the genetic level."

And it this thanks to advances in  CRISPR/Cas9 and TALENs technologies that allow it to translate them into "recise and corrective molecular modification."

"Following an explosion of high-profile publications on CRISPR/Cas9 and TALENs, genome editing has emerged as one of the most exciting new areas of scientific research," the company says. "These recent advances have made it possible to modify, in a targeted way, almost any gene in the human body with the ability to directly turn on, turn off or edit disease-causing genes."

The company will use the funding to develop its genome editing platform and advance multiple new therapies toward clinical trials, according to a statment from Katrine Bosley, CEO of Editas Medicine.

Given that so much of his charitable work has been in the field is vaccinations and medicinal technology, it makes sense for Bill Gates to put his money into a company like Editas. After all, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been attempting to eradicate diseases all around the world for years.

The Gates Foundation also put $4.6 million into a startup called MicroCHIPS, which has developed an implant that is capable of delivering steady, regular doses of hormones to control fertility for up to 16 years. When a woman is ready to start a family, her doctor simply disables the implant remotely, and then restarts it when she wants to prevent additional pregnancies.

VatorNews has reached out to Editas for more information on the new round. We will update this story if we learn more. 

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