On October 11, 2022, Wilmington, Delaware-based ChristianaCare announced it had spun out its first commercial biotechnology private startup company, CorriXR Therapeutics. The startup will use CRISPR gene editing technology to develop new, clinically relevant oncologic therapeutics in areas of unmet medical need, starting with squamous cell carcinoma of the lung.

CorriXR Therapeutics’ close relationship with ChristianaCare and the ChristianaCare Gene Editing Institute uniquely positions the new company to research and develop innovative, patient-centered therapies, the nonprofit health system said in its release. CorriXR Therapeutics will license technology from the Gene Editing Institute and work closely with its scientific researchers and ChristianaCare’s clinical oncologists. A seed financing investment of $5 million from ChristianaCare and Brookhaven Bio is supporting the startup.

ChristianaCare President and CEO Janice E. Nevin, M.D., MPH, said, “We are excited to spin out CorriXR Therapeutics, which has an enormous opportunity to use the incredible power of gene editing to revolutionize patient care by delivering faster and more accurate diagnoses, targeting treatments and preventing genetic disorders.”

Eric Kmiec, Ph.D., Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer of the Gene Editing Institute, is CorriXR Therapeutics’ Chief Executive Officer, and one of Greater Philadelphia’s widely recognized industry pioneers for his work in the fields of molecular medicine and gene editing. He discovered many of the molecular activities that regulate the efficiency of human gene editing.

“CorriXR Therapeutics is the next phase of the Gene Editing Institute’s evolution and impact as an incubator for groundbreaking technology in a patient-first approach to research,” Dr. Kmiec said. “The novel way we are using CRISPR-directed gene editing technology in solid tumors, beginning with a hard-to-treat form of lung cancer, has enormous promise as a treatment option to improve the lives of people with life-threatening diseases.”

Earlier this year, ChristianaCare structured the Gene Editing Institute into a wholly owned subsidiary, positioning it to advance research to advance therapies using CRISPR gene editing technology and to fast-track discoveries for commercial application. Learn more at www.geneeditinginstitute.com.

“This is very exciting news to share from ChristianaCare and its Gene Editing Institute,” said Claire Marrazzo Greenwood, Executive Director and Senior Vice President of Economic Competitiveness for the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. “The 11-county Greater Philadelphia region, which includes northern Delaware, is fertile ground for the development of spin-outs in the areas of cell and gene therapy, and now gene editing with CorriXR Therapeutics. Our region has a rich history of companies that have licensed technologies or spun out from our area’s world-class research institutions and health systems. We recently developed the Greater Philadelphia: Discovery Starts Here animation to illustrate these collaborations. We are delighted to have a reason to now update this storytelling tool with the news of the launch of CorriXR Therapeutics and its connection to ChristianaCare and the Gene Editing Institute.”

“We are also pleased to share news of ChristianaCare’s efforts to educate the next generation of talent in the life sciences in our region,” Greenwood said. “Their CRISPR in a Box™ educational toolkit is available globally for high schools, community colleges, universities, and companies. They are also partnering with us to share news of the workforce opportunities available in  gene editing through our Discovery Starts with Me video series.” 

Learn more about CRISPR in a Box™ here, and watch the Discovery Starts with Me video spotlighting Natalia Rivera-Torres, Ph.D.