Bayer, CRISPR Therapeutics JV to start at Kendall Square location

A biotech borne out of a JV between Bayer’s new research deals arm and CRISPR Therapeutics will start operations at life sciences hub Kendall Square in Cambridge, MA, next year as looks to get to work on a number of disease areas using the new CRISPR-Cas9 cutting-edge tech.

The company, now known as Casebia Therapeutics, was formed by the two earlier this year and began life with the ambitious aim of curing blood disorders, blindness, and congenital heart disease.

Casebia will use the gene-editing tech from CRISPR Therapeutics, one of a number of companies working in this space, in specific disease areas including hematology and ophthalmology, as well as having access to protein engineering expertise and relevant disease know-how through the Bayer side.

Hiring is now underway to populate the new 33,000 square feet of lab and office space the upstart is leasing, with space to house up to 80 staffers. The two said in a joint statement that this new unit will form its primary base of operations--although Casebia is officially a U.K. entity.

The space is located in Cambridge, MA, at 610 Main Street North--a brand new, 9-story, MIT-owned building adjacent to the MIT campus. It will share the new space with CRISPR Therapeutics, with both set to enter the new digs next year when building is complete.

Other R&D ops will be ongoing across various R&D sites of Bayer and CRISPR Therapeutics in both the U.S. and Germany, but Bayer said it would also add a new location at its existing campus in San Francisco, Mission Bay, that will house R&D operations for its hematology pipeline.

Dr. Axel Bouchon, who is serving as interim CEO of Casebia, said: “We are excited to engage the broader life science community in Boston now through Casebia. As we establish and grow Casebia’s therapeutic programs, this new location will provide us with state-of-the-art infrastructure, access to the vibrant biotech environment of the Kendall Square area, and facilitate close collaboration with CRISPR Therapeutics.”

Bayer and CRISPR Therapeutics signed a deal late last year worth $355 million to create the JV. CRISPR has also inked deals with Vertex ($VRTX) and Celgene ($CELG).

Back in May, Bayer and Ireland-based ERS Genomics also signed a patent license agreement that will see the German drugmaker gain access to ERS’ CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing patents. This will be used “for certain cross-divisional applications in Bayer's core strategic areas,” the pharma company said in a statement. Financial details were not disclosed.

- check out the release

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