A new strategic movement in the hot CRISPR field: CRISPR Therapeutics ramps up its leadership team with Samarth Kulkarni as its new Chief Business Officer and Michael Bruce as Senior Vice President to moderate program portfolio and alliance management. In the meantime, CRISPR’s main competitor EditasMedicine procured €108M to accelerate its CRISPR-based therapies in clinical state.
CRISPR Therapeutics is one of the four leading companies currently fighting within the CRISPR Therapeutical revolution. The biopharmaceutical company, headquartered in Basel, was cofounded by Emmanuelle Charpentier, co-discoverer of the CRISPR-cas9 technology and one of the most influential people in European biopharma. Today, two new executives have joined the team: Dr. Samarth Kulkarni and Dr. Michael Bruce.
Dr. Kulkarni comes from management consulting giant McKinsey, where he was a partner and had a leading role in the pharmaceutical and medical products practice. The Ph.D. in bioengineering and nanotechnology co-led the biotech practice and served a number of biotechnology companies on topics ranging from strategy to operations. Additionally, Dr. Kulkarni led initiatives in cutting edge areas such as personalized medicine and immunotherapy, where he co-authored several publications.
Dr. Bruce joins the team from Pfizer where he managed program, portfolio and alliance functions. Most recently, he was responsible for the program management of all early stage development programs in multiple therapeutic areas and modalities. He was also responsible for clinical trial business operations and alliance management. The Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the Stanford University will now lead CRISPR’s portfolio and alliance activities to bring this breakthrough technology into the clinics.
Meanwhile, Cambridge-based Editas, one of the main competitors from CRISPR-Therapetutics, cashed in massive $120M (€108M) in a Series B financing round. Among leading public and private investors, Google Ventures and Bill Gates contributed to the fundraising. The money will allow the company to get several new therapies into clinical trials in the next years.
All the leading Biotech companies in the CRISPR field have signed partnerships. This year, Editas collaborated with Juno Therapeutics, whereas Intellia Therapeutics chose Novartis as its associate. CRISPR Therapeutics is lagging behind. These two new top-executives could help the company sign an important partnering agreement and stay in the race to become a leading CRISPR company.