Bioscience startup Locus Biosciences, which is backed by the N.C. Biotechnology Center, is raising new capital to help advance its genetic engineering technology know as CRISPR.

Locus is looking to raise $14 million in capital, according to an SEC filing.

The company has so far raised $7 million from two investors.

The funding is all equity.

CRISPR has been called a “game-changing genetic engineering technique” by Harvard University.

CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat. It is defined as the unique organization of short, partially palindromic repeated DNA sequences found in the genomes of bacteria and other microorganisms.

Locus has developed its own proprietary technology related to CRISPR.

In August, Locus received $500,000 for the development of narrow-spectrum antimicrobials for infectious diseases, including the drug-resistant bacterium Clostridium difficile, using proprietary CRISPR technology.

Earlier this summer, Locus secured $5 million in the form of a convertible note from investors that included China-based Tencent Holdings.

“This funding will advance multiple infectious disease product programs targeting antibiotic resistant infections and other microbiome-related diseases,” the company said.

About Locus Biosciences, CRISPR

Founded by Dr. Rodolphe Barrangou and Dr. Charles Gersbach, Locus Biosciences designs and creates novel antimicrobial applications which leverage the powerful CRISPR-Cas3 system that kills target bacteria by irreversibly destroying the bacterial DNA. Unlike efforts to use CRISPR-Cas9 and other technologies to edit the human genome, Locus is taking advantage of the unique properties of CRISPR-Cas3 to target and eradicate specific bacterial populations. Locus believes this technology is a catalyst for new infectious disease and microbiome therapies while simultaneously addressing the challenges coupled with broad-spectrum antibiotics and the selection for antibiotic resistance.

Locus Biosciences’ novel approach to precision antimicrobials works by taking advantage of an immune system present in many bacteria called the CRISPR-Cas system. The CRISPR-Cas system protects bacteria from invaders such as viruses by creating a small strand of RNA called a CRISPR RNA, which matches a DNA sequence specific to a given invader. If the CRISPR RNA is matched to a complementary DNA sequence, the Cas proteins will cleave the invading DNA.

Locus Biosciences designs and creates novel CRISPR RNAs and uses a powerful CRISPR-Cas system, referred to as Cascade/Cas3, that kills target bacteria by irreversibly destroying the bacterial DNA. The irreversible destruction of DNA is the primary differentiator between Cas3 and Cas9, as Cas9 makes double-stranded breaks that can be repaired by the cell.

The Locus Biosciences platform enables the design and development of powerful antimicrobials that avoid currently known antibiotic resistance mechanisms while leaving non-target bacteria unharmed. Built on prokaryotic technology for prokaryotic targets, Locus is advancing its platform to create therapeutics for critical disease areas ranging from resistant bacterial infections to the microbiome.

Source: Locus

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