Research Triangle Park, N.C., July 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ – Locus Biosciences Inc. today announced the closing of a $5m Convertible Note to support the development of CRISPR-Cas3 antimicrobial therapeutics. Financing for the round was led by Tencent Holdings Limited, a leading Chinese Internet services provider, and joined by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. This funding will advance multiple infectious disease product programs targeting antibiotic resistant infections and other microbiome-related diseases.
Founded by Dr. Rodolphe Barrangou and Dr. Charles Gersbach, Locus Biosciences designs and creates novel antimicrobial applications which leverage the powerful CRISPR-Cas3 system that kills target bacteria by irreversibly destroying the bacterial DNA. Unlike efforts to use CRISPR-Cas9 and other technologies to edit the human genome, Locus is taking advantage of the unique properties of CRISPR-Cas3 to target and eradicate specific bacterial populations. Locus believes this technology is a catalyst for new infectious disease and microbiome therapies while simultaneously addressing the challenges coupled with broad-spectrum antibiotics and the selection for antibiotic resistance.
Locus Biosciences is using CRISPR-Cas3 technology to target antibiotic resistant infections without risks associated with targeting human cells. “Our novel CRISPR-Cas3 approach to precision antimicrobials works by commandeering a bacterial cell immune system present in many bacteria, so we never modify human cells,” said Rodolphe Barrangou, PhD., CSO of Locus Biosciences. “This makes our technology ideal for addressing pathogenic targets throughout the microbiome while avoiding currently known antibiotic resistance mechanisms and leaving non-target bacteria and human cells unharmed.”
Scientists at Locus Biosciences are now advancing their work with CRISPR-Cas3 to develop antimicrobials to take on diseases such as C. difficile and CRE infections. “As the only company in the world using CRISPR-Cas3 enzymes to kill targeted pathogens, we believe Locus could have the world’s most powerful mechanism of action to drive programmed cell death in bacterial targets,” says Paul Garofolo, CEO of Locus Biosciences. “Not only could this technology revolutionize the way we treat multi-drug resistant infections in patients, but it could also catalyze a novel and powerful approach to changing the human microbiome.”
About Locus Biosciences
Locus Biosciences is an emerging biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of a next generation CRISPR-Cas platform for precision antimicrobials. Our novel approach to precision antimicrobials works by taking advantage of an immune system present in many bacteria called the CRISPR-Cas system. Locus designs and creates novel CRISPR RNAs (guide RNAs) that direct the powerful Cas3 nuclease to target and kill bacteria cells by irreversibly destroying DNA. The irreversible destruction of DNA is the primary differentiator between Cas3 and the more widely known Cas9 enzyme used for gene editing and repair. Locus has exclusive rights to the use of the novel Type I CRISPR-Cas3 platform, a programmable system that destroys DNA efficiently, specifically and beyond repair.
The Locus Biosciences platform enables the design and development of powerful antimicrobials that avoid currently known antibiotic resistance mechanisms while leaving non-target bacteria unharmed. Built on prokaryotic technology for prokaryotic targets, Locus is advancing its platform to create therapeutics for critical disease areas ranging from resistant bacterial infections to the microbiome.