CRISPR undoubtedly has immense potential to cater to the growing demand for medicine across the globe. In addition, it helps to develop next-generation therapeutics that can cure and/or manage healthcare conditions better than traditional therapies. Furthermore, the CRISPR/Cas platform through different modalities such as genome-wide screening, biomarker discovery, facilitates and accelerates the process of drug discovery. With the realisation of the immense potential of CRISPR technology, both small and large pharmaceutical and biotech companies are investing in CRISPR/Cas genome editing technology for the development of therapeutics.
Some of the leading companies employing CRISPR/Cas technology are:
- Editas Medicine: It is a clinical-stage biotechnology company with Feng Zhang as one of its founders. The company is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It also has facilities in Boulder, Colorado. The company is primarily focussed on using CRISPR/Cas9 and CRISPR/Cpf1 to develop a robust pipeline of medicines to treat ocular diseases such as Leber Congenital Amaurosis, retinitis pigmentosa, etc.; blood diseases such as β-thalassemia, and sickle cell disease; and, solid tumours and blood cancer.
- Emendo Biotherapeutics: It a next-generation CRISPR Company with headquarters in New York. It aims to transform the landscape of genome editing based therapeutics to be able to treat diseases and disorders that are yet to be successfully managed using conventional therapeutics.
- KSQ Therapeutics: It is a preclinical-stage biotech company that uses CRISPR technology and is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company employs CRISPR-enabled functional genomics, including genome screens for drug discovery and development.
- Medic Life Sciences: It is a biotech company based in San Carlos, United States, that uses CRISPR-enabled functional genomics for the discovery of cancer biomarkers and improved targeting of cancer drugs. This enhances the probability of successful clinical trials for cancer drugs. Research efforts are also undertaken to understand the molecular pathways involved in developing resistance in cancer cells towards on-going therapies.
- Sangamo Therapeutics: This is a biotech company with headquarter in California, United States. The company conducts research and development activities to support the following four verticals- ‘gene therapy, cell therapy, in vivo genome editing, and in vivo genome regulation’. The research aims to understand the genetic causes of disease and to design appropriate therapies to treat them.
- Scribe Therapeutics: This is an American biotech company based in Alameda, California. They use the CRISPR-enabled functional genomic platform to drive the designing, discovery, development, and delivery of next-generation therapeutics to rectify and repair aberrant genetic mutations that lead to disorders.
- Excision BioTherapeutics: Based in Philadelphia, United States, the pharmaceutical company is involved in the development of CRISPR-based antiviral therapies that target the viral DNA, thereby preventing its escape and replication.
Other companies include Locus Biosciences and Eligo Bioscience that are focused on the development of next-generation antimicrobials that are specifically designed to eliminate harmful pathogenic bacteria by targeting their DNA sequence through phage technology. In addition to biopharmaceutical companies, there are biotech companies such as ‘Caspr Biotech’, ‘Mammoth Biosciences’, ‘Mirimus’, Sherlock Biosciences, and ‘Christiana Care’ that are involved in the development of improved molecular diagnostics that can help to transform healthcare services. Among these, Sherlock Biosciences has performed notable research in terms of developing a CRISPR-based kit for the detection of nCOVID-19.