Base editing firm Beam raises $135 million in Series B financingPublished: March 7, 2019
Beam Therapeutics has secured $135 million in Series B Financing to advance base editing platform and expand its portfolio.
Headquartered in Cambridge, MA, Beam Therapeutics is focused on developing precision genetic medicines through base editing. The company was launched last year and Prof. David Liu of Harvard University, inventor of the base editing technologies is a cofounder of the company. He was also a cofounder of one of the original CRISPR companies, Editas Medicine, along with Feng Zhang, an inventor of CRISPR gene editing at Broad Institute, and Keith Joung, a gene editing researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Zhang and Joung are cofounders of Beam Therapeutics too.
The company will use the funding to advance its technology, extend pipeline towards clinical development and expand its team and capabilities. Participants in the financing round included existing investors, F-Prime Capital, ARCH Venture Partners, Eight Roads Ventures, and Omega Funds. New investors included Redmile Group, LLC, Cormorant Asset Management, and Altitude Life Science Ventures.
Currently one of the best available genome editing tools is the CRISPR-Cas9 system, but it results in imprecise correction of mutations due to double strand break in DNA. The base editing platform developed in Liu’s laboratory can overcome this by correcting a single base at a time, without causing double-stranded breaks. Liu has developed technologies that could convert all the 4 bases- C to T, T to C, G to A and A to G.
According to a database, 33000 single point mutations are associated with disease and Beam’s novel approach to base editing could correct 63% of them in principle. Beam now has 10 active programs underway.
Source: Beam Therapeutics Closes Series B Financing Worth $135 Million; Press Release