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Colossal Biosciences to Grant $7.5M to Academic Partners for Ancient DNA Research

NEW YORK – Colossal Biosciences, a startup working to revive extinct species through their DNA, will provide $7.5 million in funding to academic partners in 2024, the company said on Monday.

"Colossal anticipates that the research into ancient extinctions, adaptation, and reshuffling of animal species will provide insights useful for global conservation efforts," the firm said in a statement, adding that CSO Beth Shapiro and Matt James, the firm's chief animal officer, will work closely to ensure that findings across ancient animal DNA dovetail with the company’s conservation efforts with extant and endangered species.

The disbursements will include an undisclosed donation to the Adopt a Mammoth project at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, which aims to radiocarbon date 1,500 mammoth remains in the University of Alaska Museum of the North's collection and provide educational resources for Alaskan students.

Financial and other terms of the funding were not disclosed.

The funding follows a $500,000 donation to the University of California, Santa Cruz Genomics Institute in support of the UCSC Paleogenomics Lab.

Colossal has partnered with academic labs around the world, including Stockholm University, Germany's University of Potsdam, the University of Alaska, Canada's McMaster University, the University of Copenhagen, and Rowan University. These ancient DNA research investments and partnerships have focused on species as diverse as the bluebuck, long-horned bison, Columbian mammoth, dire wolf, giant sloth, great auk, megaloceros, cave hyena, moa, saber-toothed cat, woolly rhinoceros, mastodon, tooth-billed pigeon, American cheetah, giant short-faced bear, and Steller's sea cow.

"Hyenas don't get the attention they deserve. Most people don't even know that hyenas lived in Europe and Asia until the end of the last ice age," Michael Westbury, a researcher at the University of Copenhagen, said in a statement. "I was very excited when Colossal offered to step up and support my research on the extinct cave hyena through genome sequencing funding when nobody else would."

Colossal has raised at least $225 million following a $150 million Series B financing round in January 2023.