Japanese biotech firm EdiGENE raises $14.4m in Series B

Lilly Asia Ventures
Laboratory equipment. Photo: Pixabay

EdiGENE, a Japanese biotechnology firm that develops CRISPR-based therapies, has raised ¥1.6 billion ($14.4 million) in its Series B funding round led by UTokyo Innovation Platform, the University of Tokyo’s investment arm for innovations and startups.

In a statement, the Tokyo-headquartered EdiGENE said the funding round was also backed by existing investors SBI Investment, Fast Track Initiative, SMBC Venture Capital, Mizuho Capital, and CareNet Group.

The firm, founded by Haru Morita and Osamu Nureki in 2016, intends to use the fresh funding to advance CRISPR-based therapies, extend its leadership position in gene modulation technology, and progress pipeline programmes.

EdiGENE is an emerging biotech company that develops therapeutics using its proprietary technology CRISPR-GNDM (Guide Nucleotide Directed Modulation). CRIPSR is a family of DNA sequences found within the genomes of prokaryotic organisms such as bacteria and archaea.

CRISPR-GNDM alters gene expressions to control levels of gene and consequently protein expression without cutting the DNA or RNA. Altering gene expression is a unique way to treat genetic disorders.

“EdiGENE’s novel approach to gene modulation has the potential to prevent, modify and cure a wide range of genetic diseases to improve patients’ lives,” the firm said.

The funding round followed the company’s completion of a $15-million pre-Series B financing last year, which was led by Lilly Asia Ventures and backed by Huagai Capital, IDG Capital, and WI Harper Group.

“Since the founding of EdiGENE in 2016, we have made remarkable progress in developing CRISPR-GNDM as a new therapeutic modality for precision gene therapy. We are excited to have the support from this group of investors to help us achieve our mission,” said CEO Haru Morita.

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