Scribe Raises $100M to Advance CRISPR as Means of Treating ALS
Note: This story was updated on April 16, 2021, to note that Scribe’s founding year was 2018, not 2017.
Scribe Therapeutics has raised $100 million in funding to develop CRISPR-based gene editing tools and advance its pipeline of therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
“Scribe’s engineering-first philosophy has resulted in a uniquely flexible platform for imagining and creating a new era of CRISPR-based therapies to elevate the standard of care for thousands of patients,” Jennifer Doudna, PhD, co-founder of Scribe and co-inventor of the CRISPR technology, said in a press release.
CRISPR is a gene-editing technique that allows researchers to edit parts of the genome by adding, removing, or changing specific sections of DNA. It is based on a natural defense system used by bacteria to remember viruses and deactivate them before they can do damage.
This system’s use as a gene-editing approach was first established in 2012 by Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier, PhD. Last year, the two were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their groundbreaking discovery.
Scribe was founded in 2018 with the goal of advancing CRISPR technology and developing safe CRISPR-based treatments. To date, the company has developed synthetic CRISPR molecules and custom-CRISPR tools using its X-Editing (XE) technology, a highly active and specific gene-editing platform.
“With molecular engineering at our core, we aim to move beyond discovery towards scalable biological design that can precisely address previously intractable genetic maladies,” said Benjamin Oakes, PhD, CEO and co-founder of Scribe.
Last year, Scribe and Biogen announced a $400 million research collaboration to develop CRISPR-based gene therapies that address the underlying genetic causes of ALS. While focused on ALS, the companies may explore therapeutic targets for other neurological diseases with unmet needs.
“Scribe’s engineering approach has revolutionized industry expectations for blueprinting and creating CRISPR-based therapies,” said Vijay Pande, PhD, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, one of the companies that led the recent Series B financing round. “The company is poised to fundamentally transform how we treat and manage genetic diseases at scale.”
In addition to Andreessen Horowitz, Avoro Ventures, Avoro Capital Advisors, and OrbiMed Advisors led the financing with participation from Perceptive Advisors, T. Rowe Price Associates, Wellington Management, RA Capital Management, Menlo Ventures, and an undisclosed global investment firm.
“Scribe is applying deep, multidisciplinary engineering expertise to develop the custom tools and applications needed to confront genetic diseases,” said Behzad Aghazadeh, PhD, managing partner at Avoro Ventures and Avoro Capital Advisors.
As part of the financing, Aghazadeh will join Scribe’s board of directors, along with Carl L. Gordon, PhD, managing partner at OrbiMed Advisors.