Startups

CRISPR legend Jennifer Doudna helps some recent college grads launch a diagnostics upstart

A group of recent and current grad students in the Bay Area have come together to launch a new company that promises to use CRISPR technology to create a lineup of diagnostic tests that may one day make diagnosing cancer or malaria or most anything a snap.

And aside from the tech they’ve in-licensed out of Berkeley, the young entrepreneurs have one big asset in their favor. Jennifer Doudna, one of the most famous scientific pioneers behind CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tech, is coming on board as a co-founder.

The 29-year-old founder, Trevor Martin, a Stanford PhD, says he and Ashley Tehranchi, also out of Stanford, launched the company with the help of two of Doudna’s lab students: Janice Chen and Lucas Harrington, who will head up the scientific research.

The company is called Mammoth Biosciences, which Martin says he and Tehranchi boot strapped together. 

Financing? He’s not talking about that. In fact, he declines to say whether or not he’s even looking for money.

“We’re not announcing anything on the fundraising,” he says. Make of that what you will.

He’s much more talkative about the tech. 

Using guide RNA, you can use CRISPR to track down a unique sequence to say, malaria, emitting a signal when it’s present. Little Mammoth will now look to start developing some prototypes to demonstrate how it all works. But Martin is just as uncomfortable discussing timelines on product development.

You can expect something “in the next few years,” he says vaguely. Timelines are not on the table.


Image: Co-founders Lucas Harrington, Trevor Martin, Ashley Tehranchi, Jennifer Doudbna and Janice Chen. MAMMOTH BIOSCIENCES


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