US-based precision genetic medicines developer Beam Therapeutics has raised $135m in a series B funding round to drive the development of next-generation CRISPR technologies.
The company also intends to use the funds to expand its base pipeline of gene-editing programmes as well as boost its scientific and technical leadership.
Redmile Group, Cormorant Asset Management, GV and Altitude Life Science Ventures participated in the financing round, which was joined by F-Prime Capital, ARCH Venture Partners, Eight Roads Ventures, Omega Funds and other undisclosed investors.
Beam is engaged in the development of treatments for serious diseases using its base editing technology that is designed to make precise edits to single base pairs in DNA and RNA. It is currently working on ten active programmes.
Beam Therapeutics CEO John Evans said: “Since the launch of Beam last year, we have made significant progress toward our goal of developing base editors as a new class of precision genetic medicines.
“With this funding, we will continue to expand our team and capabilities, extend our leadership position in base editing technology, and move our pipeline towards clinical development where we hope to make an impact for patients with serious genetic diseases.”
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The company noted that more than 50% of disease-causing genetic errors are due to a single-letter alteration in the nucleobases of the human genome.
However, some natural genetic variations in DNA are associated with protection from diseases.
Beam Therapeutics’ technologies could edit the genome to eliminate errors or write in protective changes at the single letter level and thereby avoiding cutting the DNA or RNA strands.
This base editing approach for precise genome modification is expected to help prevent, modify and potentially cure a variety of diseases.
Beam Therapeutics obtained a worldwide licence to develop and commercialise the DNA base editing platform from Harvard University in May last year.