Locana, a San Diego biotech that repurposed the gene-editing system CRISPR, has raised a $55 million series A round.
Its technology was developed in the lab of Eugene Yeo, a professor at UC San Diego and Locana co-founder.
Locana uses CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology to target RNA, which carries DNA instructions to cells. Previously, the technology could only be used to manipulate DNA.
The company has several preclinical programs that seek to address dysfunctional RNA processing, in an attempt to get at the root cause of genetic diseases.
Jeffrey Ostrove, who previously headed AbVitro and Ceregene, is Locana’s CEO. Its chairman is Tom Daniel, a former Celgene executive, who is also a partner at Arch Venture Partners, which led the funding round.
“The Locana team has rapidly advanced foundational science from Dr. Yeo’s lab into an impressive preclinical data set, demonstrating potential of this RNA-targeting platform to be therapeutically impactful in genetic diseases and beyond,” said Daniel in a news release.
Also participating in the financing were existing investors Temasek and Lightstone Ventures, along with new investors UCB Ventures and GV, previously called Google Ventures.
Locana’s technology was also developed by its chief technology officer David Nelles and Ranjan Batra, who is Locana’s vice president of research and development.