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Caribou Biosciences

Caribou Biosciences

Caribou Biosciences is a Berkeley California based private company founded in 2011 by Jennifer Doudna and Rachel Haurwitz based on CRISPR technology.

Caribou Biosciences is headquartered in Berkeley, California and was founded in 2011 by to James Berger, Jennifer A. Doudna, Martin Jinek, and Rachel E. Haurwitz. The company uses CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Palindromic Repeats) technology, based on a bacterial defense system against viruses, as a biotechnology tool. Co-founder and CEO Racheal Haurwitz was formerly a PhD student mentored by co-founder Jennifer Doudna at UC Berkeley, one of the inventors that turned this bacterial defense system into a customizable gene editing system.

Caribou Biosciences is applying CRISPR-Cas technology to therapeutics, agriculture, biological research and industrial biotech. Caribou co-founded Intellia Therapeutics in 2014 to use CRISPR-Cas9 to develop cures to diseases like blood disorders and cancer. Caribou is also working on developing medicine for pets and agricultural livestock. It is working on antimicrobial therapies and the large-scale production of biological therapeutics. In a TechCrunch interview Haurwitz said that Caribou Biosciences has no plans to edit human embryos.

CRISPR Technology

CRISPR sequences contain copies of viral DNA sequences that the bacteria use as a guide to locate invading viral DNA. The CRISPR system makes an RNA guide for the target sequence that directs a Cas (CRISPR-associated) protein to cut foreign DNA. Dr. Jennifer Doudna at UC Berkeley and Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier now at Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin, co-invented the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system, which makes it possible for scientists to design custom RNA guides that target CRISPR-Cas9 to a desired genetic sequence in any genome for editing.

When CRISPR induces double stranded DNA breaks the cellular repair process causes some of the DNA sequence to be lost, which can disrupt gene function. While targeted disruption of genes is useful for some applications, the ability to change the DNA sequence to that of an introduced DNA template has broadened the applications of this technology. It is also possible to use CRISPR-Cas to make certain DNA changes without cutting. A modified CRISPR system uses a form of Cas9 with its cutting function inactivated, combined with other proteins to turn up or down gene expression levels without changing the DNA sequence.

There is a patent dispute between Doudna’s research team and the Broad Institute (MIT and Harvard) over the invention of CRISPR-Cas9 technology for use in human cells. The US patent granted to the Broad Institute is under appeal. The European patent office has revoked this first patent obtained by the Broad Institute citing lack of novelty. The European patent office has granted patents to the University of California and University of Vienna. One for using the CRISPR-Cas9 system across prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems and another for a modified form of CRISPR-Cas9 to regulate gene expression. Numerous patents have been assigned to Caribou Biosciences for CRISPR-Cas9 adaptations and other molecular biology materials.



Caribou Biosciences co-founded Intellia Therapeutics to use the Caribou CRISPR-Cas9 platform to develop therapeutics. Intellia Therapeutics is working with Regeneron to develop a gene knockout strategy for Transthyretin Amyloidosis (ATTR). CRISPR-Cas9 technology to knock out Hepatitis B Virus is being tested in animal models. Intellia is also developing the technology for gene editing in Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (AATD) and Primary Hyperoxaluria (PH-1). Novartis is collaborating with Intellia to edit hemopoietic stem cells ex vivo at the BCL11A gene to treat Sickle Cell Disease. The two companies are also collaborating on Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell (CAR-T) strategies which modify the immune system so it better targets cancer.

Caribou Biosciences is developing cancer treatments in-house that target microbes that live on humans and other anti-microbial therapies.

Agricultural Biotech

Caribou Biosciences is collaborating with animal genetics company Genus (Basingstoke, UK) to improve the welfare of food producing animals. They are developing Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome virus (PRRSv) resistant pigs. CRISPR-Cas9 technology was used to edit the CD163 gene in pigs, which makes the PRRSv unable to infect them.

DuPont collaborated with Caribou Biosciences to create drought and disease resistant waxy corn with CRISPR gene editing.

Biological Research

The Caribou technology platform is used to investigate the role of gene mutations in disease and find druggable targets. Manipulating gene function with CRISPR-Cas9 technology is also used to understand the normal function of genes.

Industrial Biotech

The production of chemicals and enzymes for research and therapeutics requires cell factories for fermentation. Caribou Biosciences aims to improve microbial production strains for the production of therapeutic products. They are also using their technology to enable the bio-based production of materials never produced by microbes before, like fragrances, flavors, industrial cleaning products and products used in transportation.

Series A

On April 2, 2015 Caribou Biosciences completed their series A funding round with $11 million in funding from Fidelity Biosciences, Novartis, Mission Bay Capital, 5 Prime Ventures, and an undisclosed strategic partner.

Series B

On May 16, 2016 Caribou Biosciences completed their series B funding round with $30 million in funding from Anterra Capital, Heritage Group, Maverick Capital Ventures, Pontifax AgTech, F-Prime Capital Partners, Novartis, Mission Bay Capital, and 5 Prime Ventures.


July 23, 2021
Caribou Biosciences raises a $304,000,000 initial public offering from F-Prime Capital Partners, Physical Sciences and Ridgeback Capital.
March 2021
Caribou Biosciences raises a $115,000,000 series C round from Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, LifeSci Venture Partners, MONASHEE INVESTMENT, Maverick Ventures, Mission BioCapital, PFM Health Sciences, Point72 Ventures, Pontifax AgTech, Ridgeback Capital and Tekla Capital Management.
February 10, 2021
AbbVie and Caribou Biosciences announce collaboration and license agreement for CAR-T Cell Products.

AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) and Caribou Biosciences, Inc., a leading clinical-stage CRISPR genome editing biotechnology company, announced today that they have entered into a collaboration and license agreement for the research and development of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapeutics.

Caribou will receive $40 million in an upfront cash payment and equity investment, along with up to $300 million in future development, regulatory, and launch milestones.

May 2016
Caribou Biosciences raises a $30,000,000 series B round from Anterra Capital, F-Prime Capital Partners, Genoa Ventures, Heritage Group, Maverick Ventures, Mission BioCapital, Novartis, Point72 Ventures and Shu Duan.
March 2015
Caribou Biosciences raises a $11,000,000 series A round from F-Prime, Genoa Ventures, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Jennifer Doudna, Mission Bay Capital and Novartis.
September 2014
Caribou Biosciences raises a $11,500,000 venture round.
Caribou Biosciences was founded by James Berger, Jennifer Doudna, Martin Jinek and Rachel Haurwitz.

Funding rounds


Further reading

Documentaries, videos and podcasts



Joanna Glasner
September 21, 2021
Crunchbase News
Biotech companies--where female founders are better represented than in the overall tech sector--regularly go public at an earlier stage than other tech startups, commonly using public markets as a fundraising strategy rather than an exit. We look at whether these founding teams are actually getting more in early- and later-stage investment than the venture stats suggest.
Amirah Al Idrus
July 23, 2021
Caribou Biosciences is the latest biotech to rake in an upsized IPO. The cell therapy player bagged $304 million in a Wall Street debut, which will see its lead CAR-T program through a first phase 1 readout and propel two prospects toward--and maybe also into--the clinic.
Kate Goodwin
July 6, 2021
Tossing their names in the hat just before long weekend, four life sciences companies filed for $100 million IPOs Friday afternoon.
Amirah Al Idrus
July 1, 2021
Another day, another $100 million. In a move that's starting to look like a rite of passage in biotech, Caribou Biosciences filed on Thursday to raise $100 million in its Wall Street debut. The proceeds will propel three off-the-shelf CAR-T therapies into and through the clinic and boost Caribou's work in natural killer (NK) cell therapies.
June 22, 2021
Caribou Biosciences, Inc. announced today that it has appointed Scott Braunstein, M.D. to its board of directors.
May 17, 2021
Caribou Biosciences, Inc., a leading clinical-stage CRISPR genome-editing biopharmaceutical company, announced today that it has expanded its scientific advisory board (SAB) with the appointment of two new members: Katy Rezvani, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; and Christopher Sturgeon, Ph.D.,
May 5, 2021
Caribou Biosciences Announces Appointment of Industry Leader Andrew Guggenhime to its Board of Directors - read this article along with other careers information, tips and advice on BioSpace
Amirah Al Idrus
March 2, 2021
On the heels of a new partnership with AbbVie, Caribou Biosciences is reeling in $115 million to keep improving its CRISPR technology and shepherd its pipeline of allogeneic, or off-the-shelf, cell therapies into and through the clinic.
Ben Adams
February 10, 2021
Last year, AbbVie decided to walk away from a pact with gene editing biotech Editas that was originally penned via its new buyout, Allergan.
February 10, 2021
/PRNewswire/ -- AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) and Caribou Biosciences, Inc., a leading clinical-stage CRISPR genome editing biotechnology company, announced today that...
Ben Adams
May 12, 2020
After a relatively quiet few years, Caribou Biosciences has hired Cherry Thomas, M.D., as its new senior vice president of clinical development.
May 7, 2020
Caribou Biosciences and MaxCyte Enter into Clinical and Commercial License Agreement - read this article along with other careers information, tips and advice on BioSpace
May 11, 2020
Caribou Biosciences Appoints Cherry Thomas, MD as Senior Vice President of Clinical Development - read this article along with other careers information, tips and advice on BioSpace


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