David Liu, the Broad Institute biochemist behind two powerful forms of genome editing, is launching a company focused on delivering gene-editing machinery to precise cells and tissues in the body, STAT has learned.
The company, known as Nvelop, already raised a $100 million seed round last year, according to PitchBook. It is being run by Jeff Walsh, a former top executive at Bluebird Bio, and it recently recruited Bluebird’s head of research, Melissa Bonner, according to two people with knowledge of the situation. Bluebird had not previously disclosed Bonner’s departure.
Nvelop is the latest entry in a race among top labs and deep-pocketed investors to solve a delivery problem that has stunted efforts to turn CRISPR and other genetic tools into disease-altering medicines. The goal is to develop a cargo system precise enough to deliver CRISPR or other machinery to cells of a researchers’ choosing, particularly tissues that have been hard to reach with previous approaches, like neurons, muscle, and blood stem cells.