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redalpine co-leads $13M seed round for ExpressionEdits to revolutionize cell & gene therapy

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The Expression Edits team

We are delighted to announce our co-lead investment in Cambridge-based biotech firm ExpressionEdits’ (RAC VII) $13 million seed funding round. ExpressionEdits transforms the genetic toolbox and with that the cell & gene therapy sector, and commercialization through their proprietary intronization technology. Octopus Ventures co-led the round, with participation from BlueYard Capital, Wilbe Capital, Acequia Capital, Amino Collective, and Hawktai.

ExpressionEdits (ExEd) customizes the genetic instructions of transgenes by mimicking the natural genetic landscape to ensure the production of highly complex therapeutic and industrial proteins across various host cells. Their intronization technology overcomes a significant hurdle in drug development by enabling the production of proteins that are currently unproducible or come with very low expression rates. This technology not only acts as an enabler, but opens up completely new therapeutic assets.

The funding will speed up the development of the internal candidates for preclinical studies and help secure commercially and scientifically relevant partnerships. The main goal of the internal pipeline is to focus on recombinant proteins that have traditionally encountered production and manufacturing difficulties using current technologies.

Introns: A splice of life

Already valued at $20 billion, cell & gene therapy (CGT) is poised to be the dominant trend in biopharma development in the coming years. Within CGT, personalized precision medicine is growing significantly, pushing the market beyond medical treatment towards individualized prevention, with the oncology segment of CGT expected to remain the key driver and a leading grossing segment of the biopharmaceutical industry.

For example, gene regulation is a particularly pertinent aspect of cancer treatment and prevention, as it promises a far less invasive and risky treatment option than traditional approaches like chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery. However, the challenge remains that targeted gene regulation therapies need to be matched to specific genes or particular cancer types.

Until recently, introns were considered “junk DNA” without high relevance within genomics. However, new studies have revealed their critical role and molecular mechanism in genome regulation, as they allow for alternative splicing, which enables one gene to code for multiple transcripts and therefore serve multiple complex cellular functions. Introns can also affect gene expression, the rate at which genes are turned on to make proteins and other non-coding RNA.

However, in the realm of protein-based therapeutics, a significant roadblock has persisted: many promising therapies cannot be produced in sufficient quantities within patients, despite extensive research and sound science. This is further exacerbated by the fact that traditional pharmaceutical players often lack the expertise and awareness regarding introns, and existing production methods fail to achieve necessary protein yields. This gap in knowledge and technology has left many therapeutic innovations unrealized.

ExEd is tackling this gap by harnessing the power of introns through their IP-protected intronization technology. The company's AI-driven platform, the Genetic Syntax Engine, combines millions of biological data points with machine learning algorithms to automate the optimization of transgene design. This innovative technology allows ExEd to predict and prioritize crucial transgene properties, and design and introduce artificial introns into recombinant genes (converting cDNA to in-cDNA), thus facilitating the production of therapeutic proteins that were previously difficult to obtain.

This positions ExEd as first movers in the CGT market while providing them with the versatility of enabling upstream production and genetic application use.

Introducing the team

Behind every game-changing company is a game-changing team. Co-founded by Dr. Kärt Tomberg, Dr. Liliana Antunes, and Prof. Allan Bradley in 2021, the ExEd team collectively has over 165 years of experience from bioengineering to AI/ML, with significant scientific, leadership, and operational expertise across the biotech and pharma sectors.

Empowering GameChangers

Speaking on our investment, redalpine Founding Partner Michael Sidler said:

Expression Edits unravels the significance and opportunities of introns, which were once relegated to the dark matter of the human genome. Their proprietary ‘Genetic Syntax Engine' unlocks the capacity to express highly complex molecules previously deemed unattainable while regulating them with precision. This opens up a groundbreaking new frontier in the gene and cell therapy space, and we firmly believe that Expression Edits will spearhead the growth of this rapidly expanding field."

We are proud to empower GameChangers at the forefront of scientific breakthroughs and can’t wait to see the impact ExpressionEdits will have in advancing life-saving therapies to improve patient outcomes.


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