Biotechnology Startup CrisprBits Raises 250,000 USD in Pre-Seed Round from US-based VJ Group

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Bengaluru : CrisprBits, one of the first Indian companies using CRISPR, a breakthrough gene-editing technology, has raised 250,000 USD in Pre-seed funding from US-based VJ Group. The funding will be used towards product development, team expansion and for research and development.

Founded by Dr. Vijay Chandru, Sunil Arora, Dr. Rajeev Kohli, Bharat Jobanputra, and Aditya Sarda in 2020, CrisprBits was started with a vision of developing high-quality healthcare solutions in diagnostics and gene editing that all Indians can afford. The company plans to extend its CRISPR-based diagnostics platform to point-of-care detection of pathogens and antimicrobial resistance genes associated with hospital-acquired infections. CRISPR is used by bacteria to protect themselves from invading viruses and in the past few years, scientists have harnessed the power of CRISPR to develop therapeutics as well as other biotechnological products in the domains of human, plant & microbial bio-engineering.

Very recently, the company developed OmiCrisp, a CRISPR- based test to detect SARS-CoV2 and to determine whether it is an Omicron or non-omicron variant. The test was developed with support and collaboration from the C-CAMP-InDx (Indigenisation of Diagnostics Program), an initiative supported by the Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India.

The CrisprBits team comprises industry veterans with a deep understanding of genomic science and a track record of running successful businesses. Dr. Vijay Chandru, a renowned academician and entrepreneur, co-founded Strand Life Sciences, a leading genomics-based research and diagnostic company. Dr. Rajeev Kohli is an Ira Leon Rennert Professor of Business at Columbia Business School and has been a part of the Marketing Division since 1991. Sunil Arora, as the Managing Director of Abilities India Pistons & Rings Ltd, has transformed the company from a domestic aftermarket player to an 80% export OEM supplier. Bharat Jobanputra, a former Vice President of Projects at Forderanlagen Magdeburg GmbH in Canada, has led multiple major turnkey projects for top multinational companies. Aditya Sarda is both the Managing Director of Bhawani Plywoods Private Limited and a partner in Pioneer Timber Products.

Sunil Arora, Co-Founder and CEO, CrisprBits, added, “ CrisprBits was founded with an aim to address critical healthcare needs through the use of a breakthrough technology like CRISPR. The team’s prior experience in developing diagnostics, precision medicine and clinical-research solutions that are used by clinicians, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in India and around the world, has enabled us to come out with products that have significant public health and social impact. We are thrilled to welcome the VJ Group as our strategic investors.The new investment will accelerate our next phase of growth and allow us develop many more high-quality healthcare solutions in diagnostics and gene editing”

Commenting on the investment, Vijay Alreja, Founder and CEO, VJ Group, said, “The potential of CRISPR technology is truly incredible, and we are excited to support CrisprBits harnessing this technology to develop high quality yet affordable and accessible solutions to improve human health. Our team is thrilled to embark upon this journey with a high caliber leadership and scientific team at CrisprBits to leverage an innovative and groundbreaking CRISPR technology for human well-being. We look forward to working together to commercialize the products that are in the pipeline as well as develop new products. We strongly believe that this collaboration will lead to synergistic outcomes”

Dr Vijay Chandru, Co-Founder and CSO, said, “At CrisprBits, we are using the latest in CRISPR gene editing technology to bring high-quality life sciences solutions to all Indians. With the recent publication of our manuscript on OmiCrisp, a CRISPR-based test for SARS-CoV2, we are demonstrating our commitment to infectious disease surveillance and one health. Through our upcoming ‘PATHCRISP’ point of care platform, we are making these solutions accessible to all. Beyond diagnostics, we will also explore new therapeutic strategies in gene editing for oncology, cardio-vascular applications, and even industrial biotechnology applications.”