Chroma Medicine Launches with $125M in Financing to Deliver on the Promise of Epigenetic Editing
Chroma Medicine, Inc., (Chroma) a new genomic medicine company pioneering epigenetic editing, launched today with $125M in financing. Atlas Venture and Newpath Partners seeded the company with participation from Sofinnova Partners. The Series A was led by Cormorant Asset Management with participation by Casdin Capital, Janus Henderson Investors, Omega Funds, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., and Wellington Management in addition to all seed investors. The financing will support continued development of the company’s epigenetic editing platform and advancement of its pipeline of targeted therapeutics.
Chroma has assembled a highly experienced team led by industry veterans Catherine Stehman-Breen, M.D., CEO, Vic Myer Ph.D., President and CSO, and Brett Kaplan, M.D., CFO. The company builds upon breakthrough epigenetic editing technologies developed by its scientific founders, Luke Gilbert, Ph.D., Keith Joung, M.D., Ph.D., David Liu, Ph.D., Angelo Lombardo, Ph.D., Luigi Naldini, M.D., Ph.D., and Jonathan Weissman, Ph.D.
“Epigenetic editing is the next frontier in genomic medicine with the potential to transform the treatment of genetically driven diseases. By harnessing nature’s innate mechanism to modulate gene expression, we can durably and precisely control gene expression without fundamentally changing or cutting the underlying DNA sequence,” said Dr. Stehman-Breen. “Supported by world-class founders and investors, the Chroma team is committed to deliver on the promise of this exciting platform.”
Chroma’s modular epigenetic editors can be precisely programmed to durably turn genes on or off or alter the expression of several genes at once. This approach represents a step change advance in gene editing, enabling the company to seamlessly silence, activate, and multiplex genes in a single platform. Chroma’s epigenetic editors have the potential to address a wide range of diseases and to become the technology of choice for gene regulation.
“Epigenetic editing provides fundamental mechanistic advantages over other genomic medicine approaches,” said Vic Myer, Ph.D. “First, by mimicking cells’ existing mechanism for regulating gene expression, it enables complete control of the target without activating unpredictable DNA repair pathways. Second, epigenetic editing opens the possibility of pursuing targets in the genome that are difficult to access with other therapeutic approaches, offering hope to patients suffering from serious illnesses.”
Chroma launches with partnerships with world-renowned academic institutions. Its recent acquisition of Milan, Italy-based Epsilen Bio seeded by Sofinnova Partners and founded by Angelo Lombardo, Ph.D. and Luigi Naldini, M.D., Ph.D., adds complementary capabilities through a partnership with the San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy, a joint institute between Ospedale San Raffaele and Fondazione Telethon, a pioneer in cell and gene therapy. The company also launches with collaborations with Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco, global leaders in scientific innovation and genetic disease research.
“Chroma is building a next-generation technology platform of epigenetic editing tools,” said Bihua Chen, CEO and Portfolio Manager at Cormorant Asset Management. “This novel approach has the potential to address not only monogenic disease, but also complex diseases involving multiple genes that have long been out of reach of genomic editing. We believe the company is well-positioned to realize the potential of this exciting new technology.”
Chroma’s Board of Directors includes CEO Catherine Stehman-Breen, M.D. and investors Kevin Bitterman, Ph.D., Partner, Atlas Venture, Thomas Cahill, M.D., Ph.D., Managing Partner, Newpath Partners, Bihua Chen, CEO and Portfolio Manager, Cormorant Asset Management, and Paola Pozzi, Partner, Sofinnova Partners.