Agenovir secures funding for CRISPR antiviral therapies

Antiviral therapy specialist Agenovir has secured $10.6 million in funding from a series A funding round.

The company, which utilises CRISPR-Cas9 and other computationally engineered nuclease technologies to develop novel antiviral therapies, will now invest the money into developing its research and development efforts.

The round was led by Data Collective which was joined by Celgene and Lightspeed Venture Partners, along with several individual investors.

“With this financing led by top tier venture, corporate and individual investors, we expect to build an exceptional leadership team and accelerate our research and development programs to treat diseases associated or caused by latent or persistent viral reservoirs,” said Bruce Hironaka, founding CEO and director of Agenovir.

Using CRISPR-Cas9 technology, Agenovir believes in the potential to treat persistent conditions caused by viruses through interference at the intracellular viral DNA level. The company has already produced proof of concept data for several viruses that has demonstrated infection-specific cell death following the introduction of nucleases into human cells.

“Agenovir is at the cutting edge of scientific research, leading the industry in developing a new and innovative approach to treat persistent viral diseases that we believe will fundamentally change the therapeutic paradigm,” said Matt Ocko, co-Managing Partner of Data Collective and a member of the board of directors at Agenovir. “We at DCVC look forward to partnering with the company as they augment their infrastructure, continue to build up their considerable intellectual property portfolio, and most importantly, advance key therapeutic candidates into clinical development to truly make a difference in the lives of patients.”

CRISPR-Cas technology is a rapidly evolving field, with many big pharma companies investing in the concept. AstraZeneca, Bayer and Novartis are some of the biggest names investing in the technology and working with the pioneers in the field, who include CRISPR Therapeutics, Editas, Intelia and Caribou Biosciences.

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