- Caribou Biosciences, a company co-founded by CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna, raised $115 million in a Series C financing, money that will go toward bolstering its research into gene-editing and cell therapy.
- Farallon Capital Management, PFM Health Sciences and Ridgeback Capital Investments led the round of financing, and executives at both PFM and Ridgeback will take seats on Caribou's board, the company said in a Wednesday statement.
- Other new investors including AbbVie's venture capital arm, Avego Bioscience Capital and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Therapy Acceleration Program. Existing investors, including Heritage Medical Systems and Maverick Ventures, also participated.
Caribou's financing round reflects a growing interest in CRISPR "genetic scissors," which allow targeted changes in DNA and hold the promise of revolutionary advancements in medicine. Doudna and fellow scientist Emmanuelle Charpentier won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work on CRISPR last year.
Caribou aims to use its CRISPR technology to produce improved forms of CAR-T cell and natural killer cell therapies for cancer. The company's pipeline includes a treatment for a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that has advanced to a Phase 1 clinical trial. It's also researching therapies for multiple myeloma, acute myeloid leukemia and solid tumors.
AbbVie is doubling down on its bet on Caribou after signing a co-development deal last month. The agreement included a $40 million upfront payment to Caribou and as much as $300 million more for reaching certain milestones. The companies plan to research and develop two new CAR-T therapies, with an option to expand the deal for two more.
The latest infusion of cash far surpasses Caribou's Series B financing of $30 million in 2016 and may help position the company for an initial public offering. Caribou has been considering the right moment for an IPO for some time, according to a report in Mergermarket in late 2019.