NYSCF – Robertson Investigator Feng Zhang Launches “Beam Therapeutics”
NYSCF – Robertson Investigator Feng Zhang, PhD, Core Member at Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, along with David Liu, PhD, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, and J. Keith Joung, MD, PhD, Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Associate Chief of Pathology (Research) and Desmond and Ann Heathwood MGH Research Scholar at Massachusetts General Hospital, have launched a new gene editing company called Beam Therapeutics.
The company, which has garnered $87 million in launch money, will center on a modified version of CRISPR—the revolutionary gene editing technology Dr. Zhang helped pioneer. Beam’s gene editing tool will be able to change base pairs within a sample of DNA without cutting the DNA strand (this has been the focus of Dr. Liu’s research at Harvard).
Instead of making permanent changes to DNA, like CRISPR typically does, the new tool will allow scientists to make changes when needed, and once the problem has been resolved, reverse the changes. This is a helpful feature, as many states of disease are not permanent and do not require a permanent change in the genome to fix them.
Beam has reported that they have started applying their technology to over 10 diseases and will release more specifics at a later date.
For more information, check out this article.