Boston – (work wire) – Carver Biosciences, Inc. , a biotechnology company focused on developing CRISPR/Cas13 antivirals, today announced the closing of an initial funding round led by Khosla Ventures.
Carver is focused on using bacterial-derived RNase Cas13 RNA to target respiratory viruses.
The company was founded in 2021 by Dr. Cameron Myhrvold, Assistant Professor at Princeton University. Dr. Mehrvold has been developing Cas13-based techniques to study viral host RNA since 2016, the year the protein was first discovered. Dr. Walter Strapps joined as Co-Founder and CEO in February of 2022. Dr. Myhrvold will serve as Chairman of Carver’s Scientific Advisory Board.
“Cas13 opens up a whole new world of possibilities for targeting RNA, just as Cas9 did for DNA targeting,” said Dr. Myhrvold.I’m particularly excited about the use of Cas13 to treat viral infections, as the vast majority of viruses do not have FDA-approved treatments or vaccines. ”
Dr. Strabs is an experienced biotech executive and most recently served as chief scientific officer of Gemini Therapeutics, a biotech company focused on macular degeneration associated with dry age. Prior to this, Dr. Strabs held several leadership roles in research efforts in oligonucleotide-based therapies, including at Sirna Therapeutics, Merck & Co. and Intellia Therapeutics.
“I am very excited about the potential of Cas13 to treat patients infected with respiratory viruses. Cas13 provides us with a programmable platform for processing existing viruses and rapidly responding to new viruses as they occur,” said Dr. Strabs.Having helped build several therapeutic oligo platforms before, I am thrilled to introduce this experience to a new CRISPR protein. ”
““We invest in companies that are bold and have the potential to make a significant impact on society early on,” said Alex Morgan, partner at Khosla Ventures. “The major respiratory viruses that have a significant impact on human health are based on RNA and include respiratory syncytial virus, influenza virus, influenza virus, metabinomavirus, rhinovirus, and something everyone can appreciate today, the coronavirus. The ability to have a programmable therapy that can respond to newly emerging strains in a very purposeful way will revolutionize our approach to infectious diseases, from the common cold to some of the major infectious causes of death. This team has a unique set of experiences that we hope will unleash this potential.”
Carver will use seed funding to conduct initial proof-of-concept Cas13 experiments in cells and in disease models in their Boston labs and with CRO partners. Cas13 works by using the targeting of a specific mRNA sequence to specifically split and degrade the target RNA. Similar to Cas9 that targets DNA, Cas13 is part of the bacterial immune system that can be used in mammalian cells.
About Carver Biosciences, Inc.
Carver is a Boston, Massachusetts-based gene therapy company that develops CRISPR-based therapies for RNA viruses that infect humans. Carver’s approach is a programmable platform technology that can offer a generalizable solution for treating many viruses, in which targeting is determined by an RNA guiding sequence. The company’s core technology was developed by co-founder Dr. Cameron Myhrvold. For additional information, please visit www.carver.bio.