Philadelphia (November 13, 2017) - Excision BioTherapeutics, a life science company focused on the development and commercialization of advanced gene editing therapeutics for the treatment of life-threatening disease caused by viruses, today announced they are the first company to secure exclusive licenses from UC Berkeley for their newly discovered CRISPR gene editors.
In February of 2017, Drs. Jennifer Doudna and Jillian Banfield published a paper in Nature, indicating the discovery of new CRISPR-Cas systems from uncultivated microbes and opening the door for the development of new versions of the genome editing technology. Excision BioTherapeutics is the first company to secure licenses to further explore these gene editors as they relate to infectious diseases, including HSV, HBV, HTLV-1, and many other viruses, opening up more ways than ever before to explore possible treatments and/or cures.
In addition to improving its research capabilities and expanding its pipeline, the licenses give Excision BioTherapeutics the right to sub-license these editors to others, such as pharmaceutical companies, providing them with new research alternatives to develop medicines or treatments.
“The discoveries made by the Doudna and Banfield laboratories open up so many possibilities. As a result of their incredible work to develop these alternatives in the gene editing space, we can now take our expertise and intellectual property and make significant progress in medical treatment options for some of the world’s worst infectious diseases,” said Thomas Malcolm, Ph.D., founder, president and CEO of Excision BioTherapeutics.
According to a news report from GenomeWeb.com on the Nature paper, "Given that virtually all environments where life exists can now be probed by metagenomic methods, we anticipate that the combined computational-experimental approach will greatly expand the diversity of known CRISPR-Cas systems, enabling new technologies for biological research and clinical applications."
Added Malcolm: “By working with additional nucleases to Cas9, we are increasing the possibilities for harnessing this incredible technology and we are looking forward to bringing these to the industry and intend to develop them to the fullest capability.”
"These newly discovered gene editors have the potential to offer flexibility and complementary gene editing approaches beyond the currently employed CRISPR/Cas9 for research and development of preventative and therapeutic strategies toward incurable diseases caused by pathogenic viruses in humans", says Kamel Khalili Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Neuroscience, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University and founder and Principal Scientific Advisor to Excision BioTherapeutics.
“Advancements of this magnitude are exactly what makes ARTIS Ventures so proud to be backing exceptional companies in the biotech space such as Excision BioTherapeutics,” said Stuart Peterson, president of ARTIS Ventures. “We have the utmost confidence in what Thomas and his team are doing, having already made great progress on HIV with Cas9. These new editors add even greater potential and we look forward to seeing how they leverage them to improve lives.”
Excision BioTherapeutics Inc. is a life science company focused on the development and commercialization of advanced gene editing therapeutics for the treatment and eradication of life-threatening disease caused by neurotropic viruses (viral infections).
The company was founded in 2015 out of Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA. Company founders include Thomas Malcolm, Ph.D., Kamel Khalili, Ph.D., Rob Simmons, and David Rowe. In addition, the Company has licensed the viral gene editing technology from Temple University for commercial development and clinical trials. The team has already produced a considerable intellectual property portfolio covering the use of the CRISPR and other gene editing tools in relation to a targeted pipeline of indications, as well as innovative companion diagnostics.