Casebia Therapeutics establishes operations in Cambridge (MA, USA)

Hiring is underway and efforts have begun on haematology and ophthalmology programmes

In December 2015, Bayer and CRISPR agreed to create a joint venture (JV) to discover, develop and commercialise new breakthrough therapeutics to cure blood disorders, blindness, and congenital heart disease. The two parties formally closed the transaction in the first quarter of 2016.

The JV has recently been incorporated as Casebia Therapeutics, a UK entity with its primary base of research operations in Cambridge (MA, USA). The name Casebia derives from the CRISPR-associated, or Cas, family of nuclease enzymes — key components of the breakthrough gene editing technology on which Casebia will base its therapeutic programmes.

Casebia has access to gene editing technology from CRISPR in specific disease areas, as well as access to protein engineering expertise and relevant disease know-how through Bayer.

Casebia has recently entered into a sublease agreement for approximately 33,000ft2 of laboratory and office space that will host up to 80 employees and form its primary base of operations.

The space is located in a brand new, nine-storey, MIT-owned building currently under construction in Kendall Square adjacent to the MIT campus.

Casebia will be colocated with CRISPR and will enter the new location in early 2017. Meanwhile, research efforts are performed via the various R&D sites of Bayer and CRISPR in the US and Germany.

An additional location on Bayer’s campus in San Francisco, Mission Bay, will house research operations in haematology indications.

‘We are excited to engage the broader life science community in Boston with Casebia. As we establish and grow Casebia’s therapeutic programmes, this new location will provide us with state-of-the-art infrastructure, access to the vibrant biotech environment of the Kendall Square area, and facilitate close collaboration with CRISPR Therapeutics,’ said Dr Axel Bouchon, who is serving as interim CEO of Casebia.

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