eGenesis Announces Global Collaboration with Qihan Biotech to Address Global Shortage of Organs with Xenotransplantation
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – August 1, 2018 – eGenesis, a biotechnology company focused on transforming xenotransplantation into a lifesaving medical procedure, announced the formation of a global collaboration with Qihan Biotech, based in Hangzhou, China. The collaboration will focus on leveraging eGenesis’ novel gene editing platform to make xenotransplantation a safe and effective medical procedure to address the global shortage of organs for human transplantation.
The clinical potential of xenotransplantation, the use of animal organs for human transplant, is being explored with new technologies, including CRISPR Cas-9. Qihan was established in 2017 by eGenesis co-founder and chief scientific officer Luhan Yang, Ph.D. and gene editing pioneer, George Church, Ph.D., with the mission to leverage CRISPR technology to make xenotransplantation a routine medical procedure for the delivery of safe and effective human transplantable cells, tissues and organs.
“Aiming to tackle the tremendous unmet need for organs for transplant, Qihan and eGenesis are built with the shared mission to make xenotransplantation safe and accessible,” said Dr. Luhan Yang. “We look forward to collaborating with Qihan on R&D efforts, bringing together leading scientists from China and the U.S., with the hope of one day making xenotransplantation a reality for the many patients waiting for an organ transplant.”
Qihan recently completed a $7.8 million Series A financing led by Sequoia Capital China, with participation from ARCH Venture Partners, Northern Light Venture Capital, Biomatics Capital and Alta Partners.
About CRISPR Gene Editing Technology
CRISPR is a genome-editing tool that can selectively delete, modify or correct a disease causing abnormality in a specific DNA segment. CRISPR refers to Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats occurring in the genome of certain bacteria. CRISPR technology uses a protein-RNA complex composed of either the protein Cas-9 or Cpf1, each of which binds to a guide RNA (gRNA) molecule that has been designed to recognize a particular DNA sequence.
Currently in the United States, there is a tremendous unmet demand for transplant organs with more than 118,000 people in need of a lifesaving organ transplant. Of those, more than 75,000 people are active waiting list candidates. The concept of cross-species transplantation, known as xenotransplantation, is the transfer of living cells, tissues or organs from one species to another. Due to the shortage of human organs, xenotransplantation emerged as an alternative potential option and its clinical potential is being explored with new technologies such as CRISPR Cas-9. Xenotransplantation is not new – the first serious attempts (then called heterotransplantation) first appeared in the scientific literature in 1905.