'Exquisite control': Flagship pulls off $85M rally around Omega Therapeutics' clinical push for epigenetic programming tech
Omega Therapeutics began, as all biotech fledglings incubated at Flagship Labs do, with an off-the-wall question: Can one control gene expression but not create the massive nucleic acid sequence changes that are created by gene therapy and gene editing?
Not long after the internal team began ruminating on the idea, as chief Mahesh Karande explained at the official launch last September, they found an answer in a seminal paper published by Rick Young’s group at the Whitehead Institute. Genes and their regulatory elements, he found, generally reside in loops closed off by a pair of CTCF proteins — neighborhoods that were later named “insulated genomic domains,” or IGDs. By sending regulator or effector proteins to dysregulated IGDs (there are more than 15,000 of them in total), Omega’s pitch was to create a controlled epigenetic programming platform for what Karande calls the “control room of human biology.”
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