Gene-editing raising funding in the US

INARI is a plant-breeding company in the US which counts gene-editing among the technologies it uses. The company launched in July and this month secured $40 million in Series B funding.

The investment comes just weeks after the the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that gene-editing technology must be regulated in the same way as genetically-modified organisms.

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) ruled to allow gene-editing in crops and plants in April of this year. Soon after, companies using gene-editing began to source funding.

Caribou Biosciences is another US company securing funding for its work. It was founded in 2011 by scientists from the University of California. Among them was Jennifer Doudna – the scientist largely attributed with the development of CRISPR-Cas9.

The company is using gene-editing technology – like CRISPR-Cas9 – in agriculture, therapeutics, biological research and industrial biotechnology.

No gene-editing in the EU

Meanwhile in Ireland, scientists organising the IAPB (International Association for Plant Biotechnology) congress in Dublin last week expressed concern over the decision taken in the EU to place gene-edited crops in the same category as genetically-modified crops.

Speaking to AgriLand last week, Dr. Barbara Doyle Prestwich stated: “It’s really going to stymie research.”

She continued: “I don’t think it’s too big of an exaggeration to say that it is going to have a knock-on effect on the bio-economy in Europe; already some of the companies have said that they’re not going to do the research in Europe.

“It is really and truly throwing us back into the dark ages of technology and the application of technology in Europe,” she added.