BERKELEY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Caribou Biosciences, a developer of technology-based solutions for cellular engineering, today announced the launch of Intellia Therapeutics, a new company created by Caribou and Atlas Venture. Intellia will utilize Caribou’s proprietary CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing and repair technology platform in the development of new therapies targeting a variety of genetic-based diseases.
Caribou has provided Intellia with an exclusive license to utilize its technology platform for the discovery, development, and commercialization of human gene and cell therapies. The platform centers on a protein called Cas9, derived from a bacterial system known as CRISPR, which destroys invading viruses.
"We are delighted to have partnered with Atlas Venture in the founding of Intellia Therapeutics," said Rachel Haurwitz, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Caribou Biosciences. "The exceptional management team assembled and external advisors assembled for Intellia will enable it to translate the potential of Caribou’s CRISPR-Cas9 platform for gene editing and repair into viable clinical programs."
Cas9 can be programmed to use guide RNAs to target the protein to a specific sequence within double-stranded DNA, enabling simple, flexible targeting of nearly any site in a given genome. Caribou's technologies are based on research into the biology of CRISPR systems carried out by the Doudna Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, and their collaborators. At the core of Caribou's extensive CRISPR technologies IP portfolio is an exclusive license to the foundational CRISPR-Cas9 work from the University of California and the University of Vienna. This work was recently recognized by the award of a Breakthrough Prize to Caribou co-founder Jennifer Doudna, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Professor, U.C. Berkeley and her collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research and Umeå University.
"We are excited to work closely with the team at Caribou, whose scientific leadership has helped shape the CRISPR field as we know it today," said Nessan Bermingham, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Intellia. "Caribou is an ideal partner for Intellia as we seek to rapidly advance new therapies into the clinic, while further developing the technology to realize its full potential for a wide range of patient needs."
Caribou is building and deploying the CRISPR-Cas9 technology platform through relationships with companies in multiple market sectors. By partnering with companies in diverse application areas, Caribou is able to integrate discoveries from therapeutic research, agricultural biotechnology and industrial biotechnology to develop the platform further. Caribou is pursuing near-term opportunities to develop the platform to engineer improved models of disease and for improved biomaterial production. In addition to the co-founding of Intellia, Caribou will apply its technologies toward the development of new therapeutics in the anti-microbial and animal health spaces.
"Our strategic focus is on rapidly advancing our CRISPR-Cas9 platform through collaborations with industry leaders. Our partners provide us with direct market feedback to focus the development of our cellular engineering capabilities," said Dr. Haurwitz. "We believe these collaborations and partnerships will be the driver of our evolution from a platform development company towards robust, product-focused revenue generation."
About Caribou Biosciences
Caribou Biosciences is a developer of technology-based solutions for cellular engineering and analysis based on CRISPR-Cas9 biology. Caribou's tools and technologies provide transformative capabilities to basic and applied biological research, therapeutic development, agricultural biotechnology, and industrial biotechnology.