Tech Transfer eNews Blog

UC Berkeley start-up set to commercialize “micro” CRISPR enzyme for in vivo gene editing

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: September 16th, 2020

A start-up from the University of California (UC)-Berkeley aims to commercialize a micro-sized CRISPR enzyme that could provide a new, more versatile tool for gene editing.

Mammoth Biosciences, primarily a diagnostics company, has spent much of the last three years developing new CRISPR systems that can offer advantages not only for testing but also for gene editing and drug development. Because of its small size, the Casφ enzyme developed by UC-Berkeley researcher Jennifer Doudna could make it easier to deliver in-vivo gene editing through CRISPR.

“It has huge advantages in terms of delivery,” says Trevor Martin, Mammoth’s co-founder and CEO, who calls the development “super-exciting around flexibility and targeting.”

The enzyme could also be used for what Martin calls “CRISPR-plus” technologies such as base-editing that might require combining multiple CRISPR systems into a single fusion. For those, he said, it’s ideal to use components that are “as small as possible, so you have room to fit all this other machinery.”

According to Martin, the Casφ enzyme doesn’t require some of the extra RNA that other systems do to reach their targets. Instead, it can function as its own homing mechanism. “Many of these properties are going to be truly critical for realizing the potential of CRISPR,” he says.

Source: Endpoints News

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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