Emendo Biotherapeutics Nabs $61M for “Next-Generation CRISPR” R&D

Xconomy New York — 

[Updated 1/22/20120, 7:17 a.m. See below.] Emendo Biotherapeutics, a company aiming to apply CRISPR gene editing to a wider range of genetic diseases, has raised $61 million in financing.

The Series B round was led by AnGes, a Japan-based biopharmaceutical company.

New York-based Emendo did not respond to a request for comment. But on its website, it contends that CRISPR is limited in its ability to treat dominant genetic diseases, which are diseases caused by a mutation to one copy of a gene. Treating these diseases, which represent the majority of genetic disorders, require edits to the mutated gene while leaving the other one intact. Emendo says the nucleases, or cutting enzymes, currently used in CRISPR editing aren’t specific enough to do this, but that its “next generation” OMNI technology could potentially overcome that limitation.

The company says its technology designs CRISPR nucleases that edit a single gene more precisely and efficiently, minimizing the risk of unintended changes from off-target cuts. The company’s pipeline includes preclinical and research-stage programs in blood and eye disorders.

Emendo says AnGes is interested in partnering with the company, though no specific diseases were disclosed. In a prepared statement, Emendo president and CEO David Baram said his company will use the latest financing to build its pipeline with therapies for diseases that are currently untreatable.

Emendo was founded in 2015 with investments from OrbiMed and Takeda Ventures, the venture arm of Takeda Pharmaceutical (NYSE: TAK). Last year, Emendo granted Takeda an option to use the OMNI technology for two research and development targets in exchange for an investment in the company. The sum of that investment was not disclosed but Emendo says it was converted into an equity stake in the Series B financing. [Paragraph updated to clarify Emendo’s 2015 financing.]

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