ChristianaCare today announced it has spun out its first commercial biotechnology private start-up company, named CorriXR.
CorriXR Therapeutics (pronounced Cor-ix-er; from Galician meaning to correct or edit) will use CRISPR gene editing technology to develop new, clinically relevant oncologic therapeutics in areas of unmet medical need, starting with squamous cell carcinoma of the lung. Its close relationship with ChristianaCare and the ChristianaCare Gene Editing Institute uniquely positions it to research and develop innovative, patient-centered therapies.
The new start-up company has been boosted with $5 million in seed financing from ChristianaCare and Brookhaven Bio.
“We are excited to spin out CorriXR Therapeutics, which has an enormous opportunity to use the incredible power of gene editing to revolutionize patient care by delivering faster and more accurate diagnoses, targeting treatments and preventing genetic disorders,” said Janice Nevin, M.D., MPH, ChristianaCare president and CEO.
The company has developed unique CRISPR/Cas biomolecular tools that disable the genome of a tumor cell but not the genome of a healthy cell, which enables target selectivity.
CorriXR Therapeutics will license technology from the Gene Editing Institute and work closely with its scientific researchers and clinical oncologists at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute. The Gene Editing Institute’s integrated bench-to-bedside approach connects leading-edge science to patient care.
“CorriXR Therapeutics is the next phase of the Gene Editing Institute’s evolution and impact as an incubator for groundbreaking technology in a patient-first approach to research,” said Eric Kmiec, Ph.D., chief executive officer of CorriXR Therapeutics.
“The novel way we are using CRISPR-directed gene editing technology in solid tumors, beginning with a hard-to-treat form of lung cancer, has enormous promise as a treatment option to improve the lives of people with life-threatening disease.”
The CorriXR Therapeutics team includes experienced biotechnology executives and world-renowned scientists and clinicians. The executive team is led by Eric Kmiec, Ph.D., chief executive officer, and Brian Longstreet, chief operating officer.
Kmiec is also the executive director and chief scientific officer of ChristianaCare’s Gene Editing Institute. He is widely recognized for his pioneering work in the fields of molecular medicine and gene editing, having discovered many of the molecular activities that regulate the efficiency of human gene editing.
Longstreet, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, is a seasoned pharma and biotechnology industry veteran with over 30 years’ experience, beginning at Schering-Plough and then Merck & Co. Recently, he has helped to build start-up biotechnology companies.
Earlier this year, ChristianaCare restructured its Gene Editing Institute into a wholly owned subsidiary, which positions it to advance research to develop therapies using CRISPR gene editing technology and to fast-track discoveries for commercial application. The new structure also enables it to expand its educational outreach using its CRISPR in a Box™ educational toolkit and to develop its analytic software program, DECODR™. The Gene Editing Institute originated in ChristianaCare’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute in 2015.