Rare Daily Staff
Chroma Medicine, a new genomic medicine company pioneering epigenetic editing, launched with $125 million in a series A financing to support the development of its epigenetic editing platform and advance its pipeline of targeted therapeutics
Cormorant Asset Management led the series A financing round with participation by Casdin Capital, Janus Henderson Investors, Omega Funds, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, and Wellington Management in addition to all seed investors—Atlas Venture, Newpath Partners, and Sofinnova Partners.
“Epigenetic editing is the next frontier in genomic medicine with the potential to transform the treatment of genetically driven diseases. By harnessing nature’s innate mechanism to modulate gene expression, we can durably and precisely control gene expression without fundamentally changing or cutting the underlying DNA sequence,” said Catherine Stehman-Breen, CEO of Chroma.
Chroma’s scientific platform and technologies build on groundbreaking research from scientific co-founders who are experts in epigenetic editing and protein engineering: Luke Gilbert, Keith Joung, David Liu, Angelo Lombardo, Luigi Naldini, and Jonathan Weissman.
The company’s modular epigenetic editors, it says, can be precisely programmed to durably turn genes on or off or alter the expression of several genes at once. This approach represents a step change advance in gene editing, enabling the company to seamlessly silence, activate, and multiplex genes in a single platform. Chroma’s epigenetic editors have the potential to address a wide range of diseases and to become the technology of choice for gene regulation.
“Epigenetic editing provides fundamental mechanistic advantages over other genomic medicine approaches,” said Vic Myer, president and chief scientific officer of Chroma. “First, by mimicking cells’ existing mechanism for regulating gene expression, it enables complete control of the target without activating unpredictable DNA repair pathways. Second, epigenetic editing opens the possibility of pursuing targets in the genome that are difficult to access with other therapeutic approaches, offering hope to patients suffering from serious illnesses.”
Chroma launches with partnerships with world-renowned academic institutions. Its recent acquisition of Milan, Italy-based Epsilen Bio, seeded by Sofinnova Partners and founded by Angelo Lombardo and Luigi Naldini, adds complementary capabilities through a partnership with the San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy, a pioneer in cell and gene therapy. The company also launches with collaborations with Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco, global leaders in scientific innovation and genetic disease research.
“Chroma is building a next-generation technology platform of epigenetic editing tools,” said Bihua Chen, CEO and portfolio manager at Cormorant Asset Management. “This novel approach has the potential to address not only monogenic disease, but also complex diseases involving multiple genes that have long been out of reach of genomic editing. We believe the company is well-positioned to realize the potential of this exciting new technology.”
Photo: Catherine Stehman-Breen, CEO of Chroma