Mammoth Biosciences Closes on Series A Worth $23 Million
San Francisco-based Mammoth Biosciences, co-founded by one of the originators of CRISPR gene editing, Jennifer Doudna, closed on a $23 million Series A financing round. The financing was led by Mayfield, with participation from NFX and 8VC. Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, and Jeff Huber, chief executive officer of GRAIL, also joined the round.
Additional founders of the company include Trevor Martin, currently chief executive officer, Ashley Tehranchi, chief technical officer, Lucas Harrington and Janice Chen. The CRISPR technology used by the company was licensed from the University of California.
Sometimes dubbed the “Google of CRISPR,” Mammoth is more focused on using CRISPR as a way of searching for gene sequences than for its gene editing abilities. Martin told TechCrunch, “CRISPR is biology’s search engine first. Control + F is the exciting part. At the core, it’s just this amazing search engine that we can use to find things. The way that we search for things is just like Google.”
Mammoth is planning on focusing on disease detection. “To do so,” the company states, “the team harnessed the naturally evolved diversity of bacterial CRISPR systems. Using proprietary CRISPR technology licensed exclusively from the University of California, Mammoth aims to democratize disease detection with an easy and affordable point-of-care test that allows fast, simultaneous detection of multiple conditions, in real time, both in the hospital and at home. This pioneering approach has the potential to significantly reduce healthcare spending by replacing the need for dedicated testing devices, while also increasing accessibility and ease-of-use.”
“CRISPR is poised to make dramatic innovations in many industries, particularly within healthcare,” Martin said in a statement. “We see the most immediate impact outside of the lab as a tool for disease detection and biosensing. We’ve already made great strides in our mission, and look forward to building out our talented team, connecting with forward-thinking partners, and delivering the power of CRISPR to everyday life.”
Mammoth’s website says its “first product aims to democratize disease detection with a credit-card sized, point-of-care test for fast, easy, and affordable detection of multiple conditions at once, for use both in the hospital and at home. All you will need is 30 minutes and a smartphone.”
The company seems good at hyperbole without providing much concrete information, such as where they are with their technology. In addition to the funds, the company has brought on Charles Chiu, associate professor of Laboratory Medicine and Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at University of California, San Francisco, and Dave Savage, associate professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology at UC, Berkeley to the company’s Scientific Advisory Board. They join Doudna, who chairs the SAB.
“As a people-first firm focused on early-stage investing, we begin by evaluating if we are good partners to help the founding team achieve their big vision,” said Ursheet Parikh, who led Mayfield’s investment and joins the company’s board, in a statement. “In Trevor, Ashley, Lucas and Janice, we found a passionate team of experts who are being guided by industry icon Jennifer Doudna. When you combine this dream team with their unique IP, clear business model and the trend toward precision medicine, we are confident that Mammoth will grow into a leading company of the new genomics age.”