After leaving troubled Arrowhead and RNA, Steven Kanner turns to CRISPR

He joins Caribou after Arrowhead saw major setbacks last year

Caribou Biosciences has seen biopharma vet and former VP of discovery biology at Arrowhead Steven Kanner join the biotech as the CRISPR R&D race continues apace.

Kanner comes on board as CSO and will now lead Caribou’s research into new applications for its gene editing technology.

Kanner moves from Arrowhead, an RNA-focused biotech, where he had been since 2013. He also served as VP of discovery biology at Astex Pharmaceuticals and held leadership and research roles at Agensys, Astellas and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

He leaves Arrowhead after a tough 2016, which in November saw its hep B candidate, ARC-520, placed under a clinical hold by the FDA; a few weeks later, this candidate and 30% of its staff were axed as the biotech desperately sought to refocus.

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But he joins Caribou as it and a host of other biotechs and academic groups look to make the push from preclinical to human testing in CRISPR-Cas9, a gene-editing tech that many are pinning their hopes on in creating new ways of dealing with an array of diseases from sickle cell anemia to cancer.

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“We are delighted to welcome such a well-respected and talented scientist as Steve to our team,” said Rachel Haurwitz, Ph.D., president and CEO of Caribou. “Caribou is continuing to make exciting progress in our gene editing technology development and Steve's wealth of experience will help further accelerate our efforts.”

“I am thrilled to join Caribou at such an exciting time for the Company and the field of CRISPR gene editing,” added Kanner.

“There is an exceptional team of researchers already assembled at Caribou and I’m excited to help the Company build upon its leadership position in translating the promise of CRISPR gene editing for patients and society at large.”