Caribou Raises $115 Million to Advance Next-Generation CRISPR Technologies
March 3, 2021
Rare Daily Staff
Caribou Biosciences completed an oversubscribed $115 million series C financing that will be used to further develop its next-generation CRISPR technology platform and to advance a pipeline of wholly-owned allogeneic immune cell therapies targeting cancer.
New investors Farallon Capital Management, PFM Health Sciences, and Ridgeback Capital Investments led the financing, along with AbbVie Ventures, Adage Capital Partners, Avego Bioscience Capital, Avidity Partners, Invus, Janus Henderson Investors, LifeSci Venture Partners, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Therapy Acceleration Program, Monashee Investment Management, Point72, and funds managed by Tekla Capital Management. Existing investors Heritage Medical Systems, Maverick Ventures, and Pontifax Global Food and Agriculture Technology Fund participated.
“Caribou has successfully leveraged its next-generation CRISPR technology platform to create a promising clinical-stage therapeutic and a pipeline of pre-clinical allogeneic CAR-T and CAR-NK cell therapies that are potentially transformative for patients with unmet medical needs,” said Jennifer Doudna, co-founder of Caribou. “Given its pioneering and selective approach in the field, Caribou’s CRISPR technology platform should continue to serve as a powerful engine for therapeutic development.”
The company has developed a next-generation CRISPR technology platform with substantial advantages in genome editing specificity and efficiency. In response to off-target editing that sometimes occurs, Caribou has developed chRDNAs, highly specific RNA-DNA hybrid guides that direct substantially more precise genome editing than all RNA guides. chRDNAs drive highly specific, multiplex genome editing including gene insertion. Caribou uses chRDNA guides in concert with various CRISPR enzymes to develop complex immune cell therapies.
Caribou’s platform has fueled a pipeline of allogeneic cell therapies for oncology with best-in-class potential including enhanced persistence of its off-the-shelf cell therapies that is expected to drive the clinical durability of effect in multiple malignancies, which includes CB-011, an allogeneic CAR-T cell therapy that targets BCMA for the treatment of the rare cancer relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma, and that is immunologically cloaked for enhanced persistence.
It is also developing iPSC-derived allogeneic natural killer (NK) cell therapies for solid tumor indications. In February, Caribou announced a collaboration and license agreement with AbbVie for the research and development of two off-the-shelf CAR-T cell therapeutics for $40 million in an upfront and equity investment, and up to $300 million in future development, regulatory, and launch milestones.
Photo: Jennifer Doudna, co-founder of Caribou
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