A stealth biotechnology company that has attracted curiosity and speculation because of its eminent co-founders emerged into the spotlight on Thursday with the announcement of its first scientific discovery – a CRISPR-associated enzyme.
Arbor Biotechnologies announced that it has discovered – Cas13d, a CRISPR-Cas13 enzyme that could offer advantages over other enzymes, including its small size, allowing easier packaging into the viruses used to deliver CRISPR. It was found through the company’s discovery platform, which combines artificial intelligence, genome sequencing, gene synthesis and high-throughput screening to comb “the natural genetic diversity” for peptides, proteins and enzymes that could be developed into drugs, the company said.
Unlike CRISPR-Cas9 systems, Arbor’s new enzyme, Cas13d, alters RNA instead of DNA to make reversible changes in the body.
“We are now on the cusp of being able to convert sequence data into a catalog of protein functions. The possibilities are limitless,” said Winston Yan, an Arbor co-founder. Mr Yan was quoted on STAT.
The discovery of CRISPR-Cas13d represents the first significant milestone for Arbor’s discovery pipeline and illustrates the benefit of scaling protein characterization. The Company will continue to leverage its discovery platform to identify and optimize proteins to establish novel biotechnologies for improving human health and sustainability.
“This early discovery is a demonstration of the capabilities of the Arbor team,” said co-founder David Walt. “We expect this is to be the first of many discoveries to come.” Mr Walt was quoted on GlobeNewswire.
While it has waited until now to come out of stealth, Arbor was launched in mid-2016, raising $12.2 million the following June, rounding out its series A at $15.6 million in August. It counts ARCH Venture Partners, Faridan Ventures and Alexandria among its investors, FierceBiotech reported.