Gene-Editing Pioneer Recombinetics Wraps $34M Series A

Gene-Editing Pioneer Recombinetics Wraps $34M Series A

The capital will allow the St. Paul-based company, known for creating hornless cattle, to add staff, secure patents, and boost production and development.

Gene-editing pioneer Recombinetics announced Tuesday the closing of its $34 million Series A fundraising round. The capital will allow the St. Paul-based company, which uses its gene-editing prowess to improve livestock health and prevent the spreading of disease, to speed up commercialization of its technology and develop new products.

“The success of this capital raise reflects confidence in the vision of Recombinetics’ founders, and in the ability of the board of directors and management team to execute against that vision,” said Dr. Scott Fahrenkrug, founder of Recombinetics, in a statement.

Founded in 2008, the company currently holds 22 patents, with 300 more pending, and has about 37 employees.

Proceeds of this fundraising round will directly go toward adding scientists to the research and development teams; securing patents for the company’s intellectual property; expanding its laboratory, animal care and advanced reproductive facilities; and building out Recombinetics’ business development, product marketing and management teams.

Ultimately, the company expects the $34 million will help create advancements — both in speed and new discoveries or technologies —to cure human diseases, and breed healthier and more productive animals through the use of regenerative medicine.

Part of the plan Fahrenkrug mentioned involved the build-out of “oinkubators,” which will produce therapeutic cells, tissues and organs for pigs.

This work expands on Recombinetics’ initial claim to fame: using gene-editing to create hornless cows, thereby taking a step to end a painful horn-removing procedure done to 80 percent of dairy calves and 25 percent of beef cattle. The practice was used for years as a method to reduce risks of injury to handlers and other animals, according to an NPR report.

The recently-closed financing campaign is the realization of a goal set at least a year ago, as Ian Friendly, then-CEO of Recombinetics told TCB in May 2017 that they envisioned a two-phase push for $50 million.

“My sense is it will be an ongoing effort, kind of like painting the Golden Gate Bridge, but we’ll have an initial close with a combination of institution and strategic investors,” said Friendly, who has since been succeeded as CEO by Tammy Lee, formerly the chief corporate affairs officer.

Lee said last year that several clients from the medical device and pharmaceutical space were eager for Recombinetics’ to scale their production up enough to become a clinical partner.

The company raised about $7 million from 10 investors toward that and its other goals in spring 2017, before turning its sights on continued fundraising efforts. In the recent campaign, contributions toward the $34 million came from just under a dozen individuals, primarily from Minnesota, Wisconsin and New York. One investor took a majority position but a spokesperson for Recombinetics declined to provide investor names. 

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