Gene Editing, People

So what’s star Broad investigator Feng Zhang up to now?

Feng Zhang

According to an SEC filing from a few days ago, star Broad investigator Feng Zhang and a group of high-profile scientists and investors have formed a new biotech called Arbor Biotechnologies and raised $12.2 million of a $15.6 million offering.

Full credit: Reuters briefed the news June 1 and the Boston Business Journal made the connection with the scientist earlier today.

Zhang, you will remember, provided much of the original insight and IP that went into the CRISPR/Cas9 tech in use at Editas $EDIT, one of a group of gene editing rivals in that has been duking it out to be the first in the clinic with a pioneering human study. That rivalry includes an intense dispute over the patents the Broad obtained. Editas has also gone on to build its patent portfolio and Zhang has been hard at work searching for new and better ways to do gene editing.

Gene editing has a long, long way to go before anyone starts mapping commercialization plans, but the potential to eventually cure diseases with it has transfixed the industry.

These SEC filings offer only a barebones peek at new companies, but we see the group includes Tufts chemist and Howard Hughes investigator David Walt, Winston Yan, who’s listed on LinkedIn as one of Feng Zhang’s PhD students at the Broad, Arch co-founder Keith Crandell and Annie Hazlehurst, who runs the early-stage investor Faridan.

Whatever they have in mind, this is much further along than blue-sky thinking. We’ll keep you posted.


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