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Why genome-editing is getting all the biotech funding 🧬

Why genome-editing is getting all the biotech funding 🧬
April 12, 2021

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Today's Daily Stack dives into deep sciences and specifically the world of genome editing/gene editing as well as genome analysis companies that have been a magnet for funding lately.

What is Genome Editing? 
Genome editing is essentially technology that gives scientists the ability to change an organism’s DNA by adding, removing, or altering the location of a particular genome. While there are many approaches, breakthroughs in the method known as CRISPER-Cas9 have allowed scientists to edit genomes in a faster, cheaper, more efficient, and more accurate manner than any previous methods. For humans, this method potentially can allow scientists to treat disease by removing the faulty DNA from a cell, or in other words, “editing it out.”

The Controversy
Genome editing does raise controversial questions and ethical concerns on how it can affect our biology that is then inherited in the next generation. This reason is why many companies focus their genome editing techniques on somatic (i.e., non-reproductive) body cells. Other companies play the safe route and focus on genome analysis in hopes that understanding the sequence and its variations that affect our health, diseases, or drug response will ultimately help interpret and prevent or cure diseases. The potential and these recent developments have led to the immense funding in this sector.

Four Successful Startups

  • Freenome uses genome analysis to help detect mutations early on and help warn of cancer developments through blood tests. Its last Series C funding of $270MM, co-led by Bain Capital and Perceptive Advisors, was the cherry on top for its unicorn status.
  • Inscripta provides an Onyx Digital Genome Engineering benchtop system that allows for large-scale genome-engineering experiments. It has also developed, and distributes royalty-free, a nuclease used in CRISPR genome editing. The company raised its Series E of $150MM, putting it in unicorn status in early April.
  • Sema4 uses genome and clinical data to inform health decisions as well as care and treatment. The company announced in February that is merging with the SPAC CM Life Sciences, which is affiliated with Casdin Capital and Corvex Management.
  • 23andMe is a consumer genetics and research company that provides DNA testing for ancestry, traits, and health predisposition to the general public. The company announced it is merging with a SPAC established by Richard Branson and his company Virgin Group in February.
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Since last week, PrivCo has added:
933 Companies | 196 Funding Activities | 138 M&A Deals

Funding & Deal Highlights:

Signifyd raises $205MM led by Owl Rock Capital Partners
Fintech Software & Internet Services • Round E • San Jose, CA

UserZoom raises $100MM led by Owl Rock Capital Partners and acquires EnjoyHQ
Product Design Software & Internet Services • Equity • San Jose, CA

C2i Genomics raises $100MM led by Casdin Capital
Biotechnology • Round B • New York, NY

Axiado raises $20MM led by Orbit Venture Partners
Cyber Security Software & Internet Services • Round B • San Jose, CA

Transparent Health Marketplace raises $30MM from ARTIS Ventures
Health Care Software & Internet Services • Round C • Wayne, PA

Hazel Technologies raises $70MM co-led by Pontifax and Temasek Holdings
Agricultural Products • Round C • Chicago, IL

VEGAMOUR raises $80MM from General Atlantic
Hair Care Consumer Products • Equity • Los Angeles, CA

Bandwango raises $3.1MM led by Next Frontier Capital
Travel Software & Internet Services • Seed • Salt Lake City, UT

Vericred raises $23MM led by Aquiline Capital Partners
Health Care Software & Internet Services • Round B • New York, NY

ConsenSys raises $65MM
Blockchain Software & Internet Services • Equity • Brooklyn, NY

Meroxa raises $15MM led by Drive Capital
Analytics Software & Internet Services • Round A • San Francisco, CA

Cohere Health raises $36MM led by Polaris Partners
Health Care Services • Round B • Boston, MA

Papa raises $60MM from Tiger Global Management
Health Care Providers • Equity • Miami, FL

HomeX raises $90MM from New Mountain Capital
AI Software & Internet Services • Equity • Chicago, IL

Snappy Kraken raises $6MM led by Fintop Capital
Fintech Software & Internet Services • Round A • Ormond Beach, FL

Vicarious Surgical merges with D8 Holdings for $1.1BN
Robotics Industrial Products • SPAC • Cambridge, MA

Tango Therapeutics merges with BCTG Acquisition for $167MM
Biotechnology • SPAC • Cambridge, MA

Francisco Partners acquires Vital Source Technologies
Marketplace Software & Internet Services • Acquisition • Chestnut Hill, MA

Relay Therapeutics acquires ZebiAI Therapeutics
Biotechnology • Acquisition• Stillwater, MN

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