Below is our recent interview with Hyo Min Park, Co-Founder & CTO at GenEdit:
Q: What’s the story behind GenEdit? Could you introduce your company to our readers?
A: GenEdit, Inc. was founded in 2016 to be a leading biotechnology company focused on the development of novel, non-viral, nanoparticle-based delivery technologies to enable the next generation CRISPR-based gene therapies.
CRISPR is a revolutionary technology that enables precise genome editing and has the potential to provide a curative solution for thousands of genetic diseases. The key challenge with CRISPR based therapeutics is delivering them in a safe and effective manner. Existing delivery technologies such as adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) have been shown to have safety and manufacturing issues and lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) are only able to target the liver. These delivery challenges currently limit the ability to broadly use CRISPR-based therapeutics for a significant number of genetic diseases.
Using both our proprietary engineering capabilities and our novel polymer-based nanoparticle library, GenEdit provides a unique technology platform to enable the development of CRISPR-based therapeutics. GenEdit’s approach has shown the potential to enable safer delivery options for gene therapies with more improved efficiency.
Q: How did you meet your co-founders and what inspired you to work together on GenEdit?
A: My co-founder Kunwoo Lee and I first met in our first year of graduate school at UC Berkeley. We became close very quickly and talked about science and translation of the technologies all the time. He is the best scientist with scientific insight and a great personality. Other than science, he motivates me a lot in many different ways. I’ve always been dreaming of starting a company with someone like him who I can respect and learn a lot from.
Q: What are the biggest challenges for your team?
A: There are numerous unmet medical need diseases we want to study, but due to the limited resources and time, we have to set a clear goal and focus on selected targets. This round will help the company to expand our team and demonstrate our system’s efficacy in various diseases.
Q: Congrats on raising $8,5M! Could you tell us more about your recent funding round?
A: We are very excited and honored to have a partner like DCVC and Sequoia Capital who have backed entrepreneurs applying deep tech to transform giant industries. DCVC recently launched DCVC Bio fund and its principals have supported brilliant people develop cutting edge biotechnologies changing global-scale businesses for over twenty years. We couldn’t ask for better partners who believe in our vision and plans for the future. With the new funding, we’ll continue to advance our proprietary polymer nanoparticle system and build a strong team for developing the best technology.
Q: What is your main goal at the moment?
A: Our mission is to solve the delivery problem, which is the most difficult challenge of translating CRISPR-based gene editing into therapeutics. We’ve made huge progress in building a polymer library and developing a screening system to find the best formulas specific for delivery to target tissues like the brain, liver, and muscle. Our recent publications have demonstrated efficient gene editing can have therapeutic effects in live animal models with genetic diseases. Now we are focusing on designing new polymers with low toxicity for better targeting and safe delivery for translation into human therapeutics. We will grow our team and demonstrate proof of concept in new genetic disorders to develop GenEdit’s non-viral genetic therapeutics pipeline.