Bill Gates, Google lend support to development of CRISPR-based clinical treatments

Bill Gates and Google are among some of the high-profile backers of a genome editing company that’s raised $120 million (£77 million) to help develop DNA-editing technology.

According to Bloomberg, Editas Medicine Inc. has received funding from Boris Nikolic, former chief adviser for science and technology to Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who has also backed the donations.

In a statement released by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech company, it was also revealed that Nikolic has joined its board. Other notable investors in Editas include Silicon Valley’s Google Ventures and venture-capital firm Deerfield Management Co.

The funding is designed to support development of Crispr-Cas 9, a technology that can be used to treat potentially deadly diseases by “fixing” faulty genes. Editas is currently testing the technology to help correct eye disorders, and is collaborating with Juno Therapeutics Inc., a firm which genetically engineers immune-system cells to help fight cancer.

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Crispr technology has also generated controversy, with some scientists calling for it to be banned from modifying the “human germline”: human sperm, eggs and embryos. Although Editas CEO Katrine Bosley said that the company is yet to begin human trials on its treatments, the company has assured that it doesn’t work on the human germline.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Bill Gates and Google back genome editing firm

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