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RTP gene editing startup Locus Biosciences lands $12.5M from 31 investors

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Locus Biosciences, which is developing advanced antibacterial products with gene editing technology, has raised roughly $12.5 million in debt from 31 investors, according to a recent securities filing.

The round, which kicked off on April 8, is capped at $15 million, with $2.5 million remaining to be sold. Funds raised will be used fo “payments of salary in the ordinary course of business,” the filing indicated.

The Morrisville-based Locus is a 2015 spinout of N.C. State University. It started with the help of a $75,000 Company Inception Loan from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. The Biotech Center followed that with a $250,000 Small Business Research Loan a year later.

Three of the four scientific founders of Locus have also received Biotech Center grants totaling more than $300,000.

Locus went on to raise $19 million in Series A venture capital in 2017.

This January, the startup launched the world’s first clinical trial of a recombinant bacteriophage therapy, a major milestone for the field.

Locus opened enrollment for a Phase 1b trial of a potential treatment for urinary tract infections caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. The study will evaluate LBP-EC01, a bacteriophage “cocktail” that has been engineered with the gene editing technology CRISPR Cas3 to target the E. coli genome.

In 2019, it also signed an exclusive collaboration and license agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, owned by Johnson & Johnson, to develop, manufacture and commercialize crPhage products targeting two key bacterial pathogens for the potential treatment of infections of the respiratory tract and other organ systems.

Locus received a $20 million upfront fee with an additional $798 million in payments if it meets certain development milestones.

Original Article Source: WRAL TechWire