CRISPR Therapeutics is a leading gene-editing company focused on the development of transformative gene-based medicines for serious diseases using its proprietary CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing platform. CRISPR/Cas9 is a revolutionary technology that allows for precise, directed changes to genomic DNA.
Crispr is among the best examples of Versant seeking out and investing in emerging fields that will be of interest to pharma companies. In addition, the biotech illustrates how Versant’s global network helped a start-up company to expand into new geographies and attract co-investors.
Versant initially was the lone investor in Crispr’s $25 million series A round in 2014, as the firm saw the revolutionary potential of CRISPR/Cas9 technology for precise, directed changes to genomic DNA. The company licensed the foundational CRISPR/Cas9 patent estate for human therapeutic use from its scientific founder, Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier, who co-invented the application of CRISPR/Cas9 for gene editing.
In 2016, Crispr closed a $142 million Series B financing with a group of blue chip VC and crossover investors. That same year, the company went public on NASDAQ. Since beginning operations in Switzerland, Crispr has expanded its operations to Cambridge, Mass. In addition to its fully owned programs, Crispr’s strategic collaborations with Bayer and Vertex expand its portfolio and enable it with unique capabilities.