eGenesis raises $100m for gene editing to enable pig organ transplants in humans

eGenesis hopes to solve the problem of a critical shortage of suitable transplant organs by making it safe to use organs in human recipients.

eGenesis hopes to pave the way for cross-species organ replacement by using gene editing to make pig organs suitable for human transplant, and a recent influx of $100m Series B funding could help it achieve this lofty goal.

The Massachusetts-based life sciences company, founded by Dr Luhan Yang and geneticist Dr George Church, uses CRISPR gene-editing technology to alter pig organs so that they can be transplanted safely into humans without being rejected. If achieved, it could solve the critical shortage of human organs available for transplant. However, as of June 2019, no human tests had been carried out, according to MIT Technology Review.

The mammoth funding round was led by the venture capital arm of dialysis provider Fresenius Medical Care. Wellington Partners and the unit of German pharma giant Bayer also contributed.

The financing will reportedly accelerate the company’s kidney xenotransplant programme into the clinic and support the advancement of a range of other xenotransplant programmes across islet cells, the liver, heart and lungs.

“With this new round of financing from industry leaders, eGenesis is well positioned to continue to advance the development of human-compatible organs to address the dire shortage in the US and around the world,” said Paul Sekhri, president and chief executive officer of eGenesis.

“The concept of cross-species organ replacement, known as xenotransplantation, has re-emerged due to recent advancements in gene editing led by eGenesis, and will become a safe and effective solution for the hundreds of thousands of patients currently on the organ transplant waitlist globally.”

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Dr Olaf Schremeier, chief executive officer for global research and development at Fresenius Medical care, praised eGenesis’s research as “a truly transformational option for patients with kidney disease.”

He continued: “We look forward to providing our industry leading experience in treating patients with kidney disease to support the company as they aim to bring their solution into the clinical setting.”

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