Startups, Venture

The Google of CRISPR tech? Tech legends Tim Cook and Jeff Huber back Mammoth Biosciences

A startup led by a group of Bay Area grad students says it’s building a platform that harnesses the “search engine” function of CRISPR, winning $23 million in backing from a slew of high profile investors Tuesday.

The company, called Mammoth Biosciences, was co-founded by CRISPR legend Jennifer Doudna — one of the most famous scientific pioneers behind CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tech. The other founders include the 29-year-old CEO Trevor Martin, a Stanford PhD, and CTO Ashley Tehranchi, also out of Stanford. The duo launched the company with the help of two students in Doudna’s lab: Janice Chen and Lucas Harrington, who will lead scientific research. Doudna heads up the scientific advisory board.

Tim Cook

Operating under stealth mode until recently, Mammoth first stepped out this April with news that it planned to create a platform for diagnostics. With tech in-licensed from Berkeley, the company wants to apply CRISPR tech to new frontiers.

While many describe CRISPR as the “scissors” of gene editing, cutting DNA and replacing bits of genetic material where needed, Mammoth is more interested in the search function of CRISPR.

Jeff Huber

“CRISPR is biology’s search engine first,” Martin told TechCrunch in an interview. “Control + F is the exciting part. At core it’s just this amazing search engine that we can use to find things. The way that we search for things is just like Google.”

Now, Mammoth has a round of fresh capital to invest in its platform and staff. The $23 million round was led by Mayfield with participation from NFX and 8VC. Apple’s Tim Cook and the first CEO of Silicon Valley cancer screening startup Grail, Jeff Huber, also joined the round for an unspecified amount.


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


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