Epsilen Bio, an innovative startup founded in 2019 with a seed loan from the Sofinnova Telethon fund, is acquired by the American Chroma Medicine and thanks to a $ 125 million loan it becomes the largest epigenetic editing company in the world.
“This is the largest Serie A investment that an Italian biotech has ever been part of,” says Paola Pozzi, partner of Sofinnova Partners and new member of the board of Chroma Medicine.
Research and development on epigenetic editing in Milan
Epsilen Bio, now wholly owned by Chroma Medicine, will continue to conduct innovative research and development activities on epigenetic editing in Milan in collaboration with the SR-Tiget Institute, born in 1995 as a joint-venture between the San Raffaele Hospital and the Foundation Telethon and where the world’s first ex vivo gene therapy drug for the treatment of Ada-Scid was born.
Chroma Medicine is an American startup founded in 2020 that now has about thirty people, born shortly after Epsilen Bio, which aims to develop transformative therapies for patients suffering from serious diseases, through the stable and lasting epigenetic silencing of genes involved in pathological processes. “It is incredible that all this happened in a short time and during the pandemic – continues Pozzi – demonstrating that the country system, therefore, Italy can compete internationally because it has excellent science”.
And primates of Epsilon Bio
The two companies both work in a highly innovative and complementary field, that of gene editing, an innate process that cells use to regulate gene expression. This approach was first published in 2016 on Cell by Angelo Lombardo, who together with Luigi Naldini, is one of the two scientific founders of Epsilen Bio. Lombardo has demonstrated for the first time how to obtain a lasting silencing of genes through an epigenetic platform, without causing damage to the DNA.