Takeda hops onto $61M round for CRISPR player synthesizing Cas9 alternatives
Takeda Ventures and OrbiMed have helped pump $61 million into a New York biotech joining the rush to dramatically expand the CRISPR tool kit.
One crucial component in the CRISPR gene editing process is a nuclease that cuts the target DNA once it’s led there by a guide RNA. Cas9 is the most well known and broadly used among them, although researchers have been coming up with a variety of alternatives. The one that Emendo Biotherapeutics will be advancing with its new funding is dubbed OMNI.
Their class of “optimized” enzymes, according to Emendo, opens a new level of precision unattainable with older approaches.
“For example, to treat dominant indications, one allele needs to be edited while leaving the other one intact. Current CRISPR nucleases are not specific enough to do this,” the biotech wrote on its website. “Dominant indications are the vast majority of genetic diseases, highlighting the need for a novel approach.”
That platform tech has attracted Takeda to a partnership in which Emendo will synthesize OMNI nucleases for two undisclosed targets. In return, the Japanese pharma giant agreed to participate in this new financing alongside OrbiMed Advisors, OrbiMed Israel Partners and AnGes.
Tokyo and Osaka-based AnGes was responsible for $50 million of the raise, upping its stake in Emendo to 32%, according to a filing last month.
“Making Emendo an affiliated company of AnGes will assist us in the development of biopharmaceuticals through genome editing, making it possible to further expand ourdevelopment pipeline as the fourth pillar of our operations after HGF gene therapy,nucleic-acid medicines, and DNA vaccines,” AnGes wrote.
Emendo, which has an R&D operation in Israel, is collaborating with the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital on its lead program severe congenital neutropenia. Other programs in primary immunodeficiency, bone marrow failure, inherited eye disease and cancer are also attached to prestigious academic partners.
Social image: Takeda