Newton Biocapital invests in EditForce to support development of a unique DNA/RNA editing platform based on PPR protein technology
Brussels, Belgium / Tokyo, Japan – 1 July 2021 – Newton Biocapital (“Newton”), a life sciences investment fund active in Europe and Japan and focused on the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases, has announced its follow-up investment in EditForce, Inc. (“EditForce”) in Japan. As a lead investor, Newton invested EUR 3.1 million (JPY 400 million) in EditForce as part of a total tranche of EUR 10 million.
With this investment, EditForce will continue research and development of its unique, proprietary gene-editing platform. Based on pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) protein technology, the platform enables precise editing of not only DNA but also RNA. Due to its differentiated mode of action, this novel technology has the potential to impact upon a range of industries, including pharmaceutical, agricultural, and biomanufacturing. EditForce owns several pipelines, both with other partners and independently. The focus is currently set on increasing innovation in treatments for RNA abnormality diseases, with EditForce developing a wide range of applications in other therapeutic fields as well.
Takashi Ono, CEO of EditForce: “We’re very pleased to be supported by Newton, which has a wealth of investment experience and achievements in the biotechnology and life science businesses. We have our unique gene editing platform technology, especially advantageous to editing abnormal RNAs. We have already acquired significant drug efficacy data for genetic disease model animals, and will continue to take this opportunity to further acquire data and enhance pipelines.”
Yao Li, Investment Director at Newton, comments: “EditForce’s unique PPR-based approach for gene editing enables not only DNA editing but also RNA editing. Their recent proof of concept achievement and follow-up studies on RNA abnormality disease demonstrates the great potential of the technology. We believe it will trigger strong market interest in the medical field and beyond, eventually providing an effective alternative solution to CRISPR-Cas9.”
Alain Parthoens, Managing Partner of Newton: “We’re pleased to be supporting this extremely promising technology emerging from Japan’s world-class academic sphere. We see enormous benefit to connecting Japanese life sciences with European financing, as the synergy between the two enables the development of innovative solutions, such as EditForce’s PPR protein technology, with the potential to improve lives around the world.”
Launched in 2015 at Kyushu University, EditForce is developing a proprietary DNA/RNA editing technology known as PPR protein platform technology. With the vision of “New Tools Lead to a New World”, the company is committed to offering this new DNA/RNA manipulating tool to a wide range of bio-related industries including medical, chemical, and agricultural. For more information, please visit: https://www.editforce.co.jp/en/
About PPR platform technology
PPR is a protein that was discovered in plants, which regulates the gene expression by binding RNA or DNA in a sequence-specific manner. PPR proteins are also found in humans and yeasts, where they have similar functions to those of plants. Dr. Takahiro Nakamura (Professor, Kyushu University, and the advisor of EditForce) and Dr. Yusuke Yagi (CTO, EditForce) focused on PPR proteins and elucidated the recognition mode of RNA/DNA by PPR proteins. This elucidation paved the way to a new technology for the rational design of artificial PPR proteins targeted to specific RNA/DNA sequences. Versatile DNA/RNA editing tools can be created by integrating the PPR protein with various enzymes.
About Newton Biocapital
Brussels, Belgium; Alain Parthoens, Managing Partner
Newton Biocapital is a Venture Capital Firm incorporated in Belgium in 2017, focused on financing biotech and life science projects in Europe and Japan for the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. The fund’s approach as a lead investor is to support promising start-up projects as well as neglected or undervalued late-stage projects, in order to mitigate the risks and to create investor value. Newton’s portfolio includes a mix of European and Japanese companies, and the leadership team consists of specialists with long-standing management and investor experience who coach bio-entrepreneurs through the development stages of their projects. Newton Biocapital’s mission is to generate substantial financial and societal value by providing innovative and affordable solutions to patients. https://www.newtonbiocapital.com/