Locus Biosciences Inc., an emerging biotechnology company, 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.”