Since the discovery of DNA’s structure, there has been ongoing research about it. Recently, we have not only learned to interpret DNA but also edit genetic code. Gene editing has been increasing its radius of application to improve the quality of life of people. It plays a significant role in the modern-day biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industry. The ability to modify genome promises a revolution in the agricultural, health, and energy sectors. And some gene editing startups have significant growth potential.
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Top 10 gene editing startups to watch:
Research Focus: CRISPR based diagnostic tests for clinic and home
Mammoth Biosciences is a biotech company that grew out of a close relationship with CRISPR. And it is led by two Stanford PhDs, Trevor Martin (CEO) and Ashley Tehranchi (CTO), and two Berkeley PhDs, Lucas Harrington, and Janice Chen.
This company has capitalized on CRISPR and has created the first CRISPR mediated platform for human disease detection. As a result, tests in RNA/DNA sequences have become more accessible and affordable. Its primary focus is on making health care easily available anywhere and very easy to conduct. It is also working to develop a fast, simultaneous detection in real-time through a single credit card-sized strip.
Research Focus: protect the world from heart disease using genome editing
Verve Therapeutics is a gene editing startup that is led by GV (formerly Google Ventures). This company aims to focus on using CRISPR and gene editing techniques to treat coronary artery and cardiovascular disease. And it is a purpose-built company with a founding team of world-leading experts. Those experts specialize in different fields like cardiovascular medicine, patient care, cardiovascular genetics, gene editing delivery technology, and safe drug development.
Preclinical studies have shown the promise of gene editing to reduce cholesterol and other coronary artery disease risk factors safely. Moreover, the company has already licensed CRISPR patents from Broad Institute and Harvard University. The founders and investors believe that gene editing can create a new paradigm for treating coronary artery diseases.
Research Focus: Genomic Therapy
Sangamo Therapeutics is a company based in San Francisco. And it develops and commercializes engineered DNA-binding proteins for the development of novel therapeutic strategies. It is also a company to conduct clinical trials with gene-edited T cells and use zinc finger nuclease technology.
Perfecting the use of zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs), this company has enhanced genome editing technology. They have yielded positive results from their combined strategy of adjusting the binding affinity of the zinc finger array and slowing the catalytic rate of the Fok1 cleavage domain.
Research Focus: precise and automated to genome engineering
Synthego is a biotech company started by former SpaceX engineers. It is a leading provider of genome engineering solutions. Its vision is to bring precision and automation to genome engineering, enabling rapid and cost-effective research with consistent results for every scientist. Its primary focus at the moment is the creation of crisper kits that can create genetic lined based on the need and creating clinical-grade material.
Synthego announced a Gene knockout kit v2 a few months back. This kit is designed to guarantee a gene knockout by grasping a bioinformatics powered strategy that employs numerous sgRNAs targeting the gene. This kit aims to accelerate the research by saving scientists from trial and error cycles in CRISPR experiments.
Research Focus: Using gene editing to produce sustainable plant products
Plantedit is a gene editing startup specializing in next-generation genome editing tools CRISPR/Cas9. And it also produces non-transgenic, regulatory free, sustainable, consumer-oriented genome-edited plant products. Moreover, it is the first biotech company using patented next-generation genome editing tools. In addition to producing cost-effective and applicable crop species, this company aims to develop mammalian protein and human drugs at cost-effective prices using the genome-edited plant platform. Its primary focus at the moment is to develop crops that can withstand climate change, pathogen infection, and stress.
This company recently developed an oil named SOlive. SOlive is a modified form of soybean and is similar to olive oil and can be used in high temperatures and for a more extended period. The company is currently also developing enhanced fruit products and turf grass with the hopes of generating sustainable food material.
Research Focus: natural and synthetic nucleases
Inscripta is a gene editing technology company dedicated to creating the tools needed to revolutionize gene editing tools for academic and commercial customers. It has an enzyme engineering program instead of a particular application form which they aim to provide tools for their customers to custom create their applications.
This biotech company has created a family of CRISPR enzymes (called MADzymes), bespoke nucleases, and a full suite of gene-editing tools (software, instruments, and reagents) that will significantly increase the speed and efficiency of precision gene editing. These developments will boast a high-throughput multiplexed genetic engineering platform that can synthesize enhanced bespoke enzymes for specific customer uses.
Research Focus: CRISPR for research, therapeutics and agricultural industries
Caribou Biosciences was founded by scientists from the University of California, Berkeley aiming to the commercialization of applications of nucleic acid modification capabilities found in CRISPR systems. They have been using genome editing to develop tools that provide transformative capabilities to therapeutics, biological research, agricultural biotechnology, and industrial biotechnology. Their mission is to develop therapies and products that would benefit society as a whole.
Caribou has already partnered with other companies and developed a CRISPR edited waxy corn, which is resistant to drought and diseases. It has used genome editing in a UK livestock company to breed healthier pigs and cows by editing the embryos. Hence, this company has made it a priority from the outset to partner with companies across multiple industries, including basic research, food, and human health, to commercialize CRISPR as a tool.
8. Exonics Therapeutics
Research Focus: CRISPR technology for neuromuscular diseases
Exonics is a biotech company focusing on the development of gene editing therapies to treat severe genetic neuromuscular diseases, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). It has been working on using adeno-associated virus (AAV) to deliver a payload based on CRISPR/Cas9 technology. And this method can identify and correct mutations that prevent the production of dystrophin, a protein that helps stabilize and protect muscle fibers.
This company was initially launched to advance the research of Dr. Eric Olson on Duchenne muscular dystrophy in particular. Now this company is trying to use CRISPR to identify and repair the gene mutations and restore the dystrophin production.
Research Focus: CRISPR based multi-platform testing solutions
Sherlock Biosciences is an engineering biology company dedicated to making diagnostic testing better, faster, and more affordable. This company has been using engineered tools of biology like CRISPR and Synthetic Biology to create molecular diagnostics, which can rapidly deliver accurate and inexpensive results for a vast range of needs in virtually any setting. And it uses SHERLOCK (Specific High-sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter unLOCKing) technology to detect genetic fingerprints across multiple organisms or sample types. It is also looking to develop INSPECTR (Internal Splint-Pairing Expression Cassette Translation Reaction), a Synthetic Biology-based molecular diagnostics. Thus, this would open a wide range of potential applications in areas including oncology, infection identification, at-home testing, and disease detection in the field.
Research Focus: Using CRISPR editing to cure genetic diseases
Casebia Therapeutics is a gene editing joint venture formed by Bayer and CRISPR Therapeutics. These two pharmaceutical companies created this joint venture to accelerate the field of gene editing therapeutics. Casebia Therapeutics is using CRISPR/Cas9 technology and protein engineering to find therapies for a wide range of editing applications. Moreover, this innovative gene editing company developed synthetic RNA-guided nuclease known as Cas-sRGNsTM (pronounced “Cas-surgeons”). These nucleases exhibit properties that can assist in vivo genome editing applications. They have also been able to advance genetic engineering tools and treating genetic diseases like hemophilia.
Dr Martin receives his MD from University of Iowa. His expertise includes microbiology, anatomy and clinical psychology. He also dedicates himself to continuous learning in different fields.