Genome editing, sometimes referred to as gene editing, is an approach that allows scientists to manipulate and change an organism’s DNA. One way this technology can improve people’s health outcomes is in the treatment of cancer.
One company focused on this goal more than most is Caribou Biosciences (Nasdaq: CRBU), a Berkeley-based, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company founded in 2011 by James Berger, Jennifer Doudna, Martin Jinek, and Rachel Haurwitz, pioneers in CRISPR genome editing.
Employing its proprietary CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Palindromic Repeats) technology, which is based on a bacterial defence system against viruses as a biotechnology tool, Caribou Biosciences is also developing a pipeline of genome-edited, off-the-shelf CAR-T and CAR-NK cell therapies for a range of tumour types. With nearly 50 issued U.S. patents, 218 foreign patents, and 85 pending patent applications throughout the world, Caribou Biosciences is on top of its game and one of the best in the business.
Our mission is to develop innovative, transformative therapies for patients with devastating diseases through novel genome editing
— Caribou Biosciences
The company’s technology includes:
• CAR-T cell therapies for hematologic cancers
• CAR-NK cell therapies for solid tumours
• chRDNA Technology Platform
Developing cancer treatments in-house that target microbes living on humans and other anti-microbial therapies, to do this Caribou Biosciences has raised a total of $190 million in funding over five rounds.
In August of 2021, the company raised $304 million in one of the biggest gene editing IPOs ever.
Jennifer Doudna is an American biochemist and Co-Founder and on the Scientific Advisory Board of Caribou Biosciences who has done pioneering work in CRISPR gene editing, and made other fundamental contributions in biochemistry and genetics. She received the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, with Emmanuelle Charpentier, “for the development of a method for genome editing.” She is the Li Ka Shing Chancellor’s Chair Professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. She has been an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1997.
Doudna obtained a Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology from Harvard Medical School.
An Associate Professor at the University of Zurich, Martin Jinek is a Co-Founder and on the Scientific Advisory Board of Caribou Biosciences. Jinek started the company after some years of working in Doudna’s lab at UC Berkeley.
After moving back to Europe, Jinek embarked on a project involving CRISPR. That project, in collaboration with Emmanuelle Charpentier’s group, became the groundbreaking paper in 2012, launching the CRISPR-Cas9 revolution.
Jinek received a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Heidelberg University.
Rachel Haurwitz is a Co-Founder of Caribou Biosciences. President and CEO since the company’s inception in 2011, Haurwitz is an inventor on patents and patent applications covering multiple CRISPR-based technologies and has co-authored several scientific papers in high-impact journals characterizing CRISPR-Cas systems.
In 2014, she was named by Forbes Magazine to the “30 Under 30” list in Science and Healthcare, and in 2016, Fortune Magazine named her to the “40 Under 40” list of the most influential young people in business. In 2018, the Association for Women in Science recognized Rachel with the annual Next Generation Award. She serves on the board of directors of Seer, Inc. and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).
Haurwitz obtained a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley.
With a mission to “develop innovative, transformative therapies for patients with devastating diseases through novel genome editing”, Caribou Biosciences exciting IP, elite founding team and novel approach to CRISPR genome editing will hopefully eradicate the plague that is cancer and other deadly diseases.