NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – A startup from Harvard University's George Church looking to apply genome engineering to cross-species organ transplantation has raised $38 million in Series A financing.
Biomatics Capital and Arch Venture Partners led the round, joined by Khosla Ventures, Alta Partners, Alexandria Equities, Heritage Provider Network, Berggruen Holdings North America, Uprising, and Fan Ventures.
Launched in 2015, eGenesis is planning to grow pigs from embryos modified with CRISPR/Cas9 to allow their organs to be transplanted into humans. If successful, the firm could help the 75,000 patients in the US that it estimates are in need of transplantation but stuck on waiting lists.
One of the challenges is removing porcine endogenous retroviruses, which can be transmitted to human cells. In October 2015, a Church lab team led by eGenesis Cofounder Luhan Yang published a study showing they had successfully removed these retroviruses from a pig kidney cell line.
"The concept of xenotransplantation has been explored for decades as a potential answer to the scarcity of human organs and tissue," Boris Nikolic, managing director of Biomatics Capital, said in a statement. "eGenesis brings together the most advanced genetic science with a world-leading team of scientists to fulfill an urgent medical need."