Viewpoints

Enabling the Next Generation of CRISPR Products


January 30, 2020 –

For the past seven years, CRISPR has been the fastest-growing and hottest area of research in translational science. The gene-editing technology is best known for its scissor-like ability to cut DNA and replace bits of genetic material, which holds massive potential for treating common diseases, genetic disorders, and even cancer.

While other companies have been focused on the protein Cas9 and its applications for therapeutics, Mammoth Biosciences is more interested in discovering novel proteins and characterizing new applications for CRISPR. Mammoth was the first to invent the field of CRISPR diagnostics, leveraging the search function of CRISPR to create an affordable, accurate and rapid diagnostic test for the point of care. Additionally, Mammoth’s co-founders discovered the Cas14 family of proteins, the smallest CRISPR proteins to date that work similarly to a word processor and whose ultra small size enables accurate delivery to make precise repairs — opening enormous opportunity to develop in-vivo therapies.

For current proof of this point, the company announced today that it is extending its CRISPR-based platform to build the next-generation of CRISPR tools for gene editing, therapeutics, and beyond.

Mammoth’s mission is to enable the use of thousands of CRISPR-based products. To make this happen, Mammoth is partnering closely with other biotech companies to power its product development efforts. One of those partners, Horizon Discovery, currently builds its next generation bioproduction products using Mammoth’s CRISPR applications platform.

In the coming years, Mammoth expects to power hundreds of other biotech companies’ CRISPR-based products, similar to the “Intel Inside” model. The potential is enormous, especially when compared to other companies that strictly use CRISPR for their own clinical products. It’s similar to how personal computing companies such as Intel and Microsoft democratized information technology, which was previously dominated by vertical companies, with platforms such as the PC and the Cloud that could be used by developers to build new applications. By democratizing access to its CRISPR platform, Mammoth has the potential to accelerate new product development for the biotech industry.

An example of how Mammoth accelerates product development for the biotech industry is a recent partnership with Dr. Charles Chiu, MD, PhD, an infectious disease expert at UCSF, where Mammoth will help create a prototype of a rapid molecular test for coronavirus (2019-nCoV) which can quickly, and with a high degree of certainty, distinguish 2019-nCoV from all other infectious diseases. The “point-of-care” diagnostic technology will enable clinicians to identify patients wherever they are – whether at the emergency department at a community hospital, or at the airport.

That’s why we at Mayfield are delighted to continue our investment in Mammoth and welcome new investing partners such as Decheng and Verily on this journey. Their support is a testament to the promise Mammoth has delivered on since the beginning. Mammoth boasts of an all-star team, including Ph.D. researchers from Stanford and Berkeley led by co-founder and CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna, and leading entrepreneurs and scientists leaders on its board, including Grail CEO Jeff Huber and new advisory board member Stanford University School of Medicine Dean Lloyd Minor. Mammoth’s team, tech, and advisors place it in the best position to drive the biotech field forward.

Mammoth is one of the fastest-growing engineering biology startups in California. We continue to be excited about Mammoth’s development of next-generation CRISPR tools and how it will enable the biotech industry at large.

 

Originally published on LinkedIn.