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Caribou Biosciences Raises $30M Series B

May 18, 2016

The CRISPR-Cas genomic engineering firm, Caribou Biosciences, has raised a $30 million Series B including new investors, Anterra Capital, Heritage Group, Maverick Capital Ventures, and Pontifax AgTech. The round also included existing investors, F-Prime Capital Partners, Novartis, Mission Bay Capital, and 5 Prime Ventures.

Founded by CRISPR-Cas pioneering scientist-developers out of the Doudna Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, Caribou Biosciences is a leading developer of the gene editing technology. It is also one of the few developing it for applications in agriculture for higher yielding crops that have increased tolerance to drought and disease.

“The proceeds from this financing will enable us to continue to expand our industry-leading CRISPR gene editing technology platform and accelerate our efforts in highly promising application areas in agriculture, therapeutics, biological research, and industrial biotechnology,” said Rachel Haurwitz, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Caribou in a company statement.

Under the terms of the round, Anterra founding partner, Philip Austin will join the Caribou Board of Directors, representing the Series B investor class.

“Anterra was established to help transform the food sector by bringing cutting edge technologies into this industry. We are excited to be working with the Caribou management team as they seek to expand the commercial applications of their genome editing platform across therapeutics, agriculture, and other industries,” noted Austin.

This round comes one year after Caribou raised an $11 million Series A, in which DuPont was involved.

Earlier this month, DuPont announced it will commercialize a new variety of waxy corn within the next five years that it developed using the CRISPR-Cas gene editing technology.

DuPont Pioneer is the world’s top supplier of waxy corn hybrids, with approximately half a million acres grown across the U.S. each year. Waxy varieties produce a high content of amylopectin starch which is milled for use in the production of foods, adhesives, and paper. The company is establishing a CRISPR-Cas advanced breeding platform for the development of products within all of its crops of interest that offer improved disease resistance and drought tolerance.

Although subject to review, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that it will not subject the new variety to the same regulatory rigors as traditional GMO strains as it “does not consider next-generation waxy corn developed with CRISPR-Cas enabled advanced breeding technology as regulated by USDA Biotechnology Regulatory Services.”

“DuPont Pioneer believes that CRISPR-Cas as an advanced plant breeding tool holds great promise for maintaining the world’s ability to produce an abundant and healthy food supply. The USDA’s confirmation is an important first step toward clarifying the U.S. regulatory landscape and the development of seed products with CRISPR-Cas technology,” said Neal Gutterson, vice president, research and development for DuPont Pioneer.

by Lynda Kiernan

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