Feng Zhang quietly starting new CRISPR-based company: report

CRISPR Nanoparticle
The news follows last week’s unveiling of a new CRISPR company, Mammoth Biosciences, co-founded by Jennifer Doudna. (MIT News)

Beam Therapeutics, a new Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup co-founded by gene editing innovator Feng Zhang, has raised nearly $100 million in series A funding and early commitments, according to reporting from the Boston Business Journal.

Citing Pitchbook, the journal reported that Beam raised an initial $13 million from Arch Venture Partners and F-Prime Capital Partners. About another $85 million has been committed before any formal announcements, the report said.

The news followed last week’s unveiling of a new CRISPR company, Mammoth Biosciences, which will utilize gene-editing technology from the lab of co-founder Jennifer Doudna, who will also serve as chair of Mammoth’s science advisory board.

Whitepaper

Overcoming Risk in Oncology Drug Development

Oncology drug development is full of potential obstacles and risks, and you must carefully plan each step. Download this whitepaper for tips on finding the fast track. Premier Research. Built for Biotech.

Zhang and Doudna have been embroiled in an international legal dispute over the patents on CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology. Last year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office sided with the Broad Institute, Zhang’s institution, saying the inventions claimed by Broad were distinct from those asserted by Doudna and UC Berkeley.

RELATED: Special Report—The 25 most influential people in biopharma in 2015Jennifer Doudna, Emmanuelle Charpentier – Caribou Biosciences, CRISPR Therapeutics 

According to the Boston Business Journal’s report, Beam is pursing methods to more precisely edit individual base pairs without snipping the molecule’s double-helix structure.

An additional Zhang effort, Arbor Biotechnologies, recently announced $15.6 million in series A funding and a new CRISPR-associated enzyme, Cas13d, that might allow easier delivery to cells.

Mammoth, meanwhile, hopes to develop a CRISPR-based platform to detect DNA- and RNA-based biomarkers across a wide variety of disease areas. The company currently lists several investors but has not disclosed the amount of capital it has raised.

Suggested Articles

The public financing will enable Monopar to start a phase 3 trial of a prophylactic treatment for a side effect of chemoradiotherapy. 

The dispute centers on whether Asa Abeliovich used Alector’s confidential information in connection with his work for Prevail Therapeutics.

GSK poaches Merck KGaA's Martinez-Davis to helm pharma stateside; Bulto named Novartis U.S. pharma head; Allergan's Saunders set for huge parachute.