Bayers’ New JV For CRISPR Technology Begins Operations

Casebia Therapeutics, the joint venture founded by Bayer and CRISPR Therapeutics, a gene-editing company, has started its operations in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In December, 2015 Bayer and CRISPR Therapeutics agreed to create a joint venture to discover, develop, and commercialize therapeutics to treat blood disorders, blindness, and congenital heart disease. The two parties formally closed the transaction in the first quarter of 2016.

The joint venture has recently been incorporated as Casebia Therapeutics, a UK entity with its primary base of research operations in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The name Casebia derives from the CRISPR-associated, or Cas, family of nuclease enzymes, components of the gene-editing technology on which Casebia will base its therapeutic programs. Casebia has access to gene-editing technology from CRISPR Therapeutics in specific disease areas as well as access to protein-engineering expertise and relevant disease expertise through Bayer.

Casebia has recently entered into a sublease agreement for approximately 33,000 square feet of laboratory and office space that will host up to 80 employees and form its primary base of operations. The space is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts in a new, nine-story, Massachusetts of Technology (MIT)-owned building currently under construction in Kendall Square adjacent to the MIT campus. Casebia will be co-located with CRISPR Therapeutics and will enter the new location in early 2017. Meanwhile, research efforts are performed via the various R&D sites of Bayer and CRISPR Therapeutics in the US and Germany. An additional location on Bayer's campus in San Francisco, Mission Bay will house research operations in hematology indications.

Hiring is underway to staff Casebia's research and development organization, which has begun research efforts on its initial therapeutic programs. 

CRISPR Therapeutics is a gene-editing company focused on the development of gene-based medicines for serious diseases using its proprietary CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing platform. CRISPR/Cas9 is a technology that allows for directed changes to genomic DNA. CRISPR Therapeutics has established strategic collaborations with Bayer and Vertex Pharmaceuticals to develop CRISPR-based therapeutics.The foundational CRISPR/Cas9 patent estate for human therapeutic use was licensed from the company's scientific founder, Emmanuelle Charpentier, PhD, who co-invented the application of CRISPR/Cas9 for gene editing. CRISPR Therapeutics is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland with its R&D operations based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Source: Bayer

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