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Shakked Halperin

Rewrite and Replace: Shakked Halperin, Serial Entrepreneur

“CRISPR offered a pair of DNA scissors that were going to change the world,” Shakked says. “But I didn’t want to just cut. I wanted to rewrite with full control over the target sequence, so with Rewrite I turned to nature’s DNA writer – DNA polymerases – and made something closer to a pencil.”

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Tim Craven

Insamo Pulls $12M Seed Round To Put Peptides Under a Magnifying Glass

Insamo starts by leveraging its AI and ML models to design more than trillions of unique molecules that are all orally bioavailable. Next, the company screens each and every one of the compounds against the target of interest. “It feels like cheating because you get the right answer every time,” Craven said, thanks to Insamo’s one-two punch of at-scale, AI-informed drug design, followed by affinity screenings that look for antibody-like binding. Read post
Paul Bresge of Ray Therapeutics

How a Promise Sparked Ray CEO Paul Bresge’s Quest to Treat a Blinding Disease

One of his daughters, Tamar, was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa in 2010 at the age of 15, when the family was living in Toronto. “We were basically told—in the whole span of . . . maybe two or three minutes—‘You’re going blind, there’s nothing that can be done to save your vision, here is a handbook to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind,’” he said. “That was a real pivotal moment for all of us, particularly her.” Read post
Gino Segre at Bakar Labs

‘Innovation Zone’ Is Coming to Downtown Berkeley

“You can see the ecosystem here is just flourishing and becoming … even bigger and bigger, [or] as I say, a flywheel for innovation and startups,” Gino Segre, managing director of Bakar Labs, told the Business Times. “The campus itself is dedicating more real estate and more of its attention to creating these kinds of programs over time – and it’s going to be more interdisciplinary too.” Segre said Bakar Labs could have a partnership with the new addition to campus, though specifics are not yet known. Read post
Beth Zotter and Julian Rees

Umaro and HOPO, Bakar Labs Tenants, Partner in DOE-Funded Project to Extract Rare Earth Elements from Seaweed

Two Bakar Labs tenants, Umaro and HOPO, have forged an unlikely partnership to extract rare earth elements from seaweed in a project funded by a $1.78 million grant from the US Department of Energy. The award was announced Thursday, November 2, through the ARPA-E program. The joint project will explore seaweed as a sustainable source of rare earth elements, such as neodymium and dysprosium, crucial for advanced manufacturing. Sectors that could benefit include renewable electricity, computer chips, and electric vehicles. Read post
UC Berkeley library and Campanile

In a First, UC Berkeley Showcasing Startups Around J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference

Two events in particular spotlight UC Berkeley's mindset: The on-campus Bakar Labs incubator and law firm Wilson Sonsini are sponsoring a reception Monday night at the foot of Market Street, and the university's Life Sciences Entrepreneurship Center has organized a Tuesday event in a temporarily converted South of Market art gallery to showcase 24 biotech drug, medical device, diagnostics and research tools startups. The events represent a sea change led by Rich Lyons, the former dean of UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business and now chief innovation and entrepreneurship officer, and Dave Schaffer, the director of the UC system's QB3 program, UC's Bakar Labs incubator and the labs' home, Bakar BioEnginuity Hub. Read post
Four scientists from Replace Tx standing on a Bakar Labs balcony

With Funding in Hand, Tome Biosciences Buys Replace Therapeutics for $185M

Replace’s technology combines the site specificity of CRISPR/Cas9 technology with writing enzyme DNA ligase to manipulate small DNA sequences, a company press release stated, which complements Tome’s large DNA PGI technology. Per terms of the deal, Tome will acquire Replace for $65 million upfront and make other near-term milestone payments for a total deal value of up to $185 million through a mix of stock and cash. As a result, Replace will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tome. Read post
Tome Biosciences

Tome Biosciences Acquires Replace Therapeutics

Replace Therapeutics was founded by serial entrepreneur Shakked Halperin, PhD, whose previous company Rewrite Therapeutics was acquired by Intellia Therapeutics, and is backed by Civilization Ventures. The technology combines the site-specificity of CRISPR/Cas9 with the writing enzyme DNA ligase to precisely manipulate small DNA sequences. Read post
2024 East Bay Innovation Awards, Thursday March 28 5:00 pm, Oakland Scottish Rite Center

Bakar Labs a Finalist for East Bay Innovation Award in Life Sciences

Often referred to as the “Academy Awards of the East Bay,” the East Bay Innovation Awards is the premier program of its kind that celebrates and honors the extraordinary companies and organizations that contribute to the East Bay’s legacy of innovation. For over a decade, the annual awards ceremony has showcased outstanding companies and organizations from Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. Read post
The Minutia team, all business. Bottom row from left: Molly Klimak, Sean Meyer, Victor Mann, Katy Digovich, Janna Register, Sapna Puri, Debapriya Saha. Top from left: Helen Clark, Bill Hyun, Christian Schuetz, Johnny Ma, Jessica Chavez.

Hope on the Horizon: How Minutia Plans to Cure Diabetes with Cell Therapy

“I grew up in Silicon Valley, around this energy that a company is a great vehicle to build something of value,” said Katy. “I want to build things that need to exist in the world, and at Minutia, we’re doing this in two ways: cell therapy and the cell based sensors that can help ensure safety and improve efficacy of cell therapies.” Minutia’s cell therapy is a functional cure for type 1 diabetes that involves transplanting insulin producing cells just underneath the skin. Not only is this safer and less invasive compared to some existing cell therapies, which require surgically implanting cells into the liver, but Minutia’s cells are paired with nanosensors that bring the medical marvels of science fiction to real life. Read post
Umaro bacon

Umaro Is on C&E News’ Radar

There’s nothing quite like a crispy piece of bacon. But the pork industry releases more greenhouse gases than the entire country of Germany each year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. While some companies make plant-based bacon, the start-up Umaro Foods says existing products lack the key characteristic that makes bacon delicious: crispiness. Read post
Coastline and ocean on the Gulf of Maine.

Umaro, HOPO Win Joint ARPA-E Funding to Extract Rare Earth Elements from Seaweed

Umaro Foods will leverage advancements in HOPO Therapeutics' chelator technology to efficiently extract rare earth elements and platinum group metals from seaweeds. They will be applying advanced metal chelator molecules to selectively extract metals in a non-destructive manner from process streams producing valuable food-grade seaweed proteins and commodities such as agar, alginate, and carrageenan. Read post
Jenny Hamilton, Jennifer Doudna, and Navneet Matharu.

Navneet Matharu & Jenny Hamilton Win $2 Million in Seed Funding

Matharu, an Assistant Professor at UC San Francisco, is studying genetic disorders that have high unmet needs, and developing non-editing forms of CRISPR-based therapeutics. Matharu cofounded Regel Therapeutics, a Bakar Labs tenant, in 2021. “This is an extremely meaningful award from the HS Chau Foundation,” says Matharu.” This funding will enable us to utilize our foundational technology to diversify and expand the therapeutic development pipelines at Regel.” Read post