Rare Daily Staff
Beam Therapeutics, a gene editing company founded by leading scientists in CRISPR gene editing, today announced its launch and a series A funding round that will provide it up to $87 million.
The company did not identify any therapeutic areas of focus, but said it is developing a new category in CRISPR gene editing that will develop therapeutics capable of editing base pairs in DNA or RNA. The company said its technology can precisely edit single base pairs without cutting the DNA or RNA strands.
Such an approach, the company said, allows for a wide variety of therapeutic strategies including gene correction, gene regulation, gene silencing, and gene reprogramming.
Beam’s research will focus on multiple DNA base editor platforms developed in the lab of David Liu at Harvard University, as well as on the RNA base editor platform developed by Feng Zhang at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Both Liu and Zhang are co-founder of the company along with J. Keith Joung, a leading researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School who has developed important technologies for targeted genome editing.
“Base editors are capable of making single-base changes with high efficiency and unprecedented control,” said John Evans, CEO of Beam and a venture partner with ARCH Venture Partners. “Beam has assembled the key technologies in base editing and is dedicated to establishing base editors as a new therapeutic option for patients with serious diseases.”
Beam said it has assembled the leading portfolio of base editing intellectual property across multiple foundational base editing platforms. It has entered into license agreements for technologies developed in the labs of Liu, Zhang, and Joung, as well as Editas Medicine.
F-Prime Capital Partners and ARCH Venture Partners led the series A round for Beam. The company
“Our co-founders helped put CRISPR on the map,” said Stephen Knight, president and managing partner of F-Prime. “With Beam, they’re coming together again to push forward an exciting and differentiated approach to genome editing.”
May 14, 2018
Photo: John Evans, CEO of Beam