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RNA Editing Startup Amber Bio Raises $26M in Seed Funding

NEW YORK — Startup Amber Bio, which is developing a novel RNA editing technology for therapeutic applications, said on Thursday that it has raised $26 million in an oversubscribed seed financing round.

The round was co-led by Playground Global and Andreessen Horowitz Bio + Health, with participation from Eli Lilly, Retinal Degeneration Fund, Hummingbird Ventures, and Pillar VC.

Amber Bio was founded by researchers from the Broad Institute and the University of California, Berkeley to advance a technology that enables multi-kilobase edits to RNA for the treatment of genetic diseases with high allelic diversity.

"There are over 5,000 genetic disorders, many of which are caused by hundreds to thousands of mutations … in genes, leading to disease," Amber Bio Cofounder and Chief Technology Officer Basem Al-Shayeb said in a statement.

"Current gene editing technologies rely on creating solutions on a per-mutation basis, but treating one mutation at a time is not scalable across a patient population," he added. "Our technical approach leverages novel, iteratively engineered Cas-based systems for durable RNA editing, creating significant advantages over editing DNA, which can lead to permanent, off-target mutations."

San Francisco-based Amber Bio said it is working on in-house genetic medicine programs, but did not provide specific details about these efforts.