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Professor George Church - © Harvard

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Integra Therapeutics appoints recognized geneticist George Church to its Scientific Advisory Board

Integra Therapeutics appoints recognized geneticist George Church to its Scientific Advisory Board

Integra Therapeutics announced today the appointment of Professor George Church to its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB).

Prof. George Church is a pioneering scientist in reading and writing DNA. He developed the first direct genomic sequencing method and helped initiate the Human Genome Project in 1984 and the Personal Genome Project in 2005 and demonstrated that CRISPR/Cas9 could be used to edit human stem cells—several in a very long list of contributions. Currently, he is professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and professor of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also leads the Harvard Molecular Technologies lab in Boston. He has authored more than 600 papers, 155 patent publications and a book, Regenesis.

“We are thrilled for Prof. George Church to join Integra Therapeutics’ SAB. His pioneering work in DNA sequencing methods and mammalian genome editing plus his experience co-founding several biotech companies will help us expand our leadership position in the field of gene writing,” remarks Dr Avencia Sánchez-Mejías, co-founder and CEO of Integra Therapeutics.

“Prof. George Church was first on the company’s wish list to chair our SAB. We are very fortunate and grateful to have him. His work in genome sequencing, genome engineering and synthetic biology has laid the foundation for an entire industry. We welcome him and look forward to working together to help patients very soon,” says Dr Luis Pareras, chairman of the Integra Therapeutics Board of Directors.

“We’ve just set up our SAB as a strategic network of scientific and clinical experts for Integra Therapeutics. Prof. George Church will be key to reinforcing our capabilities to develop our leading gene writing platform, which aims to resolve the main limitations of gene therapy. Personally, working again with Prof. Church is extremely exciting after having done research with him for several years,” explains Dr Marc Güell, co-founder and CSO of Integra Therapeutics.

“The field of gene editing has reached an inflection point and its promise has never been greater for improving human health and advancing the life sciences as a whole,” said Prof. George Church.

Integra Therapeutics is developing the next-generation of gene writers. The FiCAT technology platform covers today’s main needs for efficient and safe gene therapies: gene size, precision and stability. FiCAT combines the precision of CRISPR-Cas (find module) and the high capacity of PiggyBac transposase (cut-and-transfer module), allowing us to program the precise insertion of small and large fragments of DNA into the genome. PiggyBac functional domains are engineered to provide increased on-target integration while reducing off-targets events.

FiCAT has the potential to tackle prevention and treatment of a wide range of genetic and oncological diseases. It has shown great promise in early-stage preclinical studies.