Changing the Name in Genetic Technology: The Journey of 2 EvoNexus Portfolio Companies; Cardea Bio Founders to CRISPR QC
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO / DISRUPT MAGAZINE / July 5, 2023 / In the fast-evolving world of biotechnology, gene editing is still a budding niche. But CRISPR QC co-founders Ross Bundy and Dr. Kiana Aran have found a way to fast-track the science.
“We have a very new form of science that comes in and solves problems our customers don’t always know they even had,” says Bundy, CEO and co-founder.
CRISPR QC was first conceptualized within Cardea Bio, a California-based biotech company. Cardea Bio was founded in 2013 by Ross Bundy and current CTO Brett Goldsmith to build the graphene-semiconductor side of the business. In so doing, they came across a company with similar goals but more biosensor focused.
That company, founded by Kiana Aran and her business partner Michael Heltzen, came together to form Cardea Bio, pairing their sensor manufacturing with the biosensor capabilities. After a decade of development, two co-founders of Cardea, Aran and Bundy, agreed it was time to try something new.
They launched CRISPR QC in 2022 while successfully exiting Cardea Bio to a large semiconductor company in 2023, part of a strategic choice to separate the scale-up of the technology while building out a core application. With this separation of foundry and application, the newly minted biotech brand of CRISPR QC thrust Bundy and Aran into an opportunity to redefine genetic technology.
Building a Better BioSensor
CRISPR QC harnesses Cardea Bio’s CRISPR-Chip technology, using it under an exclusive license. Leveraging the sensor’s unique capabilities, CRISPR-Chip technology offers real-time biophysical insights to predict and optimize gene editing and help advance science in other sectors, such as agtech, where it provides predictive insights and quality control metrics. Aran initially invented the CRISPR-Chip under the Cardea Bio company moniker.
But the proprietary biosensor is just part of what drives CRISPR QC’s powerful insights. “We are obviously very deep in biochemistry. We have a very advanced biosensor,” Bundy explains. “But ultimately, the value is delivered through data analysis.”
CRISPR QC incorporates machine learning algorithms and an extensive database to provide detailed, actionable insights across numerous use cases beyond genetic technology. The data-driven approach brings more precision, safety, and quality control to status-quo CRISPR editing workflows. This helps ensure that therapeutic interventions are precise and minimize the risk of unintended off-target effects, setting it apart from conventional sequencing-related approaches.
The science behind CRISPR QC can also potentially solve an industry-wide problem. According to Bundy, “One of the biggest issues people are talking about when it comes to cell and gene editing therapies is how scalable the science is. Can we scale these therapies so that they’re affordable?”
Aran and Bundy are confident the answer to that question is “yes,” thanks to the company’s continued innovations in the space.
“Quality control in CRISPR gene editing can verify the accuracy and efficiency of the process while maintaining the highest standards of scientific integrity and patient safety,” explains Aran. “It enables process optimization to ensure reproducibility and scaling while minimizing potential risks to meet regulatory requirements.”
Industry Leaders Turned Biotech Co-Founding Duo
Launching two successful biotechnology companies could be considered a testament to the success Bundy and Aran found in their careers. But it’s even greater evidence of the collaboration and respect between the co-founders. Bundy recalls the pair clicked immediately, becoming colleagues, co-founders, and entrepreneurs.
“Being an entrepreneur is more than just an identity. It’s a job,” he points out. The CRISPR QC exec brings with him more than a decade of entrepreneurial experience in biotechnology. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California San Diego before continuing an MBA program at San Diego State.
A long-time industry veteran herself, Aran received her doctorate in Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers University before continuing her postdoctoral studies in bioengineering at the University of California Berkeley. She has been recognized for her contributions to the scientific community with the Rutgers University Distinguished Engineer Medal of Excellence as the second woman to win the award. Aran has also received the SWE San Diego Distinguished Engineer Award and Athena Pinnacle Award in Life Sciences. She is one of The Clinical OMICs 10 Under 40 and the overall winner of the Nature Research Awards for Inspiring Women in Science. Most recently, Aran was named one of the top 200 women founders by Inc. Magazine.
Their partnership and collaboration have helped the pair tap into strategic relationships with its customers. Earlier this year, CRISPR QC partnered with multiple large pharmaceuticals—a powerful validation of the company’s technology.
With its unique technology and focus on precision, CRISPR QC offers immense promise in supporting the boom of cell and gene therapies. Discover how CRISPR QC is pioneering change in the biotechnology sector at www.crisprqc.com.
SOURCE: D!$RUPT MAGAZINE
About CRISPR QC
CRISPR QC was created to assist scientists in gene therapy and agtech companies to advance their science and bring products to market quicker by providing predictive insights and quality control metrics.
We recognize the limitations of older technologies in providing practical, effective, and timely information for optimizing and resolving issues in CRISPR editing. To address this, we have developed our CRISPR Analytics Platform with the unique capabilities of CRISPR-Chip and through deliberate collaboration with CRISPR experts.
EvoNexus is California’s leading nonprofit technology startup incubator located in San Diego. EvoNexus has successfully incubated over 260 startups with a survival rate of over 85%. Since the incubator’s formation in 2010, EvoNexus companies have secured over $1.6B in venture funding, $10B in pre-exit valuation, and had 50 acquisitions valued at over $2.1B. EvoNexus is supported by corporate partners, including some of the largest multinational corporations in the world. Learn more at evonexus.org.
About D!$RUPT MAGAZINE
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