Categories
GeekWire

Gene-editing startup Editas files for IPO

Image: Feng Zhang with student
Broad Institute researcher Feng Zhang, one of the founders of Editas Medicine, works in his lab with graduate student Patrick Hsu. (Credit: Justin Knight / NSF)

Editas Medicine filed the paperwork for an initial public offering today, marking a first for the growing number of private ventures that aim to take advantage of a powerful gene-editing technology known as CRISPR-Cas9.

Among Editas’ private investors are Bng0, an investment company with funds from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates; Google Ventures, the venture capital fund associated with Alphabet; and Khosla Ventures, the fund fronted by startup whiz Vinod Khosla. The company is collaborating with Seattle-based Juno Therapeutics on cancer treatments that take advantage of immunotherapy.

Editas was founded by several of the pioneers in the use of CRISPR-Cas9, a method that lets researchers snip and edit a wide variety of genomes to correct glitches or insert new code.

Get the full story from GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

Scientists list brain’s common gene patterns

Image: Brain gene expression
An image from the Allen Brain Explorer shows gene expression across the human brain. (Credit: Allen Institute for Brain Science)

Researchers say they’ve traced 32 of the most common genetic patterns at work in the human brain, as part of a mapping project that could lead to new insights about Alzheimer’s and other diseases.

“We’re really trying to understand the genetic basis for the architecture of the human brain,” said Ed Lein, a researcher at the Allen Institute for Brain Science and one of the authors of a study published online on Monday by Nature Neuroscience.

Lein told GeekWire that the study, based on data from the Allen Human Brain Atlas, demonstrates “we’re really much more similar than we are dissimilar” when it comes to the genetic code for our brain’s wiring. The genes that are most consistently associated with specific regions of the brain include some associated with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, as well as epilepsy and disorders associated with cocaine and nicotine use.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

DNA art honors genetic pioneer Francis Crick

Image: Kindra Crick
Portland artist Kindra Crick shows off “What Mad Pursuit,” a sculpture inspired by the work of her grandfather, DNA pioneer Francis Crick. (Credit: Alex Crick / @crickontour)

The granddaughter of genetic pioneer Francis Crick joined 20 other artists to create a series of 7-foot-high sculptures inspired by DNA’s double helix – and now those sculptures are going on the auction block to benefit cancer research.

Portland artist Kindra Crick told GeekWire she took on the project for several reasons: She’s trained as a molecular biologist as well as a painter, and her grandparents include the late Nobel-winning biologist and his artist wife, Odile Crick. What’s more, proceeds from the auction will go to the Francis Crick Institute, a London facility that’s due to open next year with backing from Cancer Research UK and five other leading medical research organizations. The two-week online sale begins on Wednesday.

Francis Crick, who won the Nobel Prize with colleague James Watson for revealing the double-helix structure of DNA, died in 2004 at the age of 88 after battling colon cancer.

“This seemed like the perfect project, not only to bring awareness to the institute, but also to use my skills and my background to present this beautiful union of art and science,” Kindra Crick said.

Get the full story on GeekWire.