CRISPR to Launch New R&D Center in Cambridge; Now Hiring

CRISPR Therapeutics to Launch New R&D Center in Cambridge; Now Hiring
April 7, 2015
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Basel, Switzerland-based CRISPR Therapeutics announced today that it will be creating a research and development center in Cambridge, Mass.

The company has appointed Bill Lundberg, CRISPR’s chief scientific officer, as the head the company’s development programs and to oversee the creation of the new operations center.

“We are committed to assembling the best and brightest to rapidly advance the promise of CRISPR-Cas9 into therapies that treat serious human diseases,” said Rodger Novak, chief executive officer of CRISPR Therapeutics in a statement. “We welcome Dr. Lundberg to our senior team as we accelerate our programs on both sides of the Atlantic. He brings significant experience in successfully translating research to clinical applications.”

CRISPR stands for clustered, regularly interspaced palindromic repeats. Along with the enzyme called Cas9, or CRISPR-associated protein 9, the technology platform is a way to turn a bacterial defense mechanism against viruses into a tool to edit genes.

The technology, discovered by UC Berkeley professor Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig, German, has significant potential for the treatment of hereditary diseases.

Doudna founded Caribou Biosciences, which recently developed a collaboration agreement with Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass. Caribou then founded another firm, also in Cambridge, Intellia Therapeutics. Charpentier sold her part of the rights of the CRISPR-Cas9 platform to CRISPR Therapeutics.

“CRISPR-Cas9 is a breakthrough in our ability to treat serious diseases, and we are now focused on translating this discovery into important new therapies for patients,” said Lundberg in a statement. “Our new Cambridge, Massachusetts, locations provides us with close access to our academic founders and their extensive networks, as well as a large pool of scientific talent to drive our discovery and development programs.”

The CRISPR Therapeutics jobs board indicates the company is looking for scientists, project leaders, operations managers and executives.

A year ago the company announced it had raised $25 million in a series A investment from Versant Ventures. It also at that time announced a founding team made up of Daniel Anderson from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Emmanuelle Charpentier, Chad Cowan, associate professor at Harvard, Craig Mello, a Nobel prize-winner at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Matthew Porteus, associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford School of Medicine.

“The efficiency and ease of use of CRISPR-Cas9 have led to the scientific community rapidly adopting the technology on an unprecedented scale,” said Novak in a statement. “We look forward to levering this potentially game-changing technology to provide new gene medicines to patients suffering from serious diseases.”

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