NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Mammoth Biosciences, the biotech startup cofounded by CRISPR researcher Jennifer Doudna, announced today that it has raised $23 million in a Series A round of financing.
The round was led by Mayfield, with participation from NFX and 8VC. The company, which came out of stealth mode in April, said it will use the funds to build its intellectual property portfolio, expand its team, and develop an infrastructure for partners to build on its CRISPR platform, with an eye toward pharmaceutical and agricultural partnerships.
Mammoth is aiming to build a CRISPR-based platform, initially using Cas12 and Cas13 to look for DNA and RNA, in a bid to detect various diseases, Mammoth Cofounder and CEO Trevor Martin told GenomeWeb in May. The possibilities, from infectious disease detection to cancer biomarker detection, are almost limitless, he added. And although the initial focus of the platform is healthcare, future possibilities include applications for genotyping, agriculture, forensics, the oil industry, and more. The platform would be able to utilize any CRISPR-Cas protein with a purpose.
The firm has a license for CRISPR technology from the University of California, and its plans for the CRISPR-based disease detection platform include both at-home and hospital-use versions. Martin had also said that the company is actively looking for partners to create tests for its platform. Mammoth is envisioning creating revenue-sharing partnerships and used the Apple iOS model as an analogy — Mammoth provides the platform like Apple provides the App Store. Now the company is hoping to find test developers just like Apple found app developers.
"CRISPR is poised to make dramatic innovations in many industries, particularly within healthcare. We see the most immediate impact outside of the lab as a tool for disease detection and biosensing," Martin said in a statement about the Series A round. "We've already made great strides in our mission, and look forward to building out our talented team, connecting with forward-thinking partners, and delivering the power of CRISPR to everyday life."
Ursheet Parikh, who led Mayfield's investment in the Series A financing, will join the board of directors. Infectious disease expert and University of California, San Francisco researcher Charles Chiu and protein engineering expert and UC Berkeley researcher Dave Savage will join the firm's scientific advisory board, which is chaired by Doudna.