Excision BioTherapeutics, a life science company focused on the development and commercialization of advanced gene editing therapeutics for the treatment of life-threatening disease caused by neurotropic viruses, recently announced it has completed a $10 million seed round of financing, led by ARTIS Ventures. The investment will enable the company to enter into human clinical trials with its HIV-1 targeted CRISPR platform, giving Excision BioTherapeutics the first effort to fully remove/excise the HIV-1 genome from all human cells and tissues. In addition, Excision BioTherapeutics is extending this approach to other viruses by targeting their genetic elements, and eliminating them permanently from the patient. Regarding this development, Thomas Malcolm, Ph.D, Excision BioTherapeutics founder, president and CEO, stated “Excision’s mission has always been to advance gene editing therapeutics into safe and efficacious medicines that will eradicate or disrupt viral genes in human patients. The support of ARTIS, and other investors, is both timely and critical as we enter the next phase of clinical trials and continue our quest in discovering a cure. HIV is highly mutable and in an atmosphere where patient adherence to daily medications is a challenge, the virus has an opportunity to alter itself and spread. Combined with selective pressures, HIV is a ticking time bomb and it is in our best interest to eliminate the virus.”
HIV is a global epidemic, with the disease most commonly affecting patients during their most productive years, with about one third of new infections occurring in people age 15-24. An estimated 1.1 million people in the United States were living with HIV at the end of 2014, the most recent year for which this information is available.
“Our goal is to cure AIDS and the time is now,” said Kamel Khalili, Ph.D. and founder of Excision BioTherapeutics “We have come a long way from a rudimentary proof of concept to now having evidence of a cure for HIV with animal models. However, what we’re working on is not exclusively focused to the HIV/AIDS virus, but multiple viruses. Our platform will allow us to eradicate permanently the genetic elements of Herpes, Zika, Ebola, Hepatitis, West Nile, and many more viruses. There are virtually no areas that are off limits here.”
Excision BioTherapeutics was founded in 2015, and has produced a considerable intellectual property portfolio and therapeutic pipeline covering the use of CRISPR gene editing-based medicines. Their mission is to advance gene editing therapeutics for our indications into safe and efficacious medicines that will greatly improve the lives of infected individuals around the world.