Synthego Pioneers Next-Generation CRISPR Light Control Technology

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REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Oct. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Synthego, the genome engineering company, today announced the design of new foundational technology for standardized precision and control of CRISPR-based gene editing inside cells using light. Described in Nature Communications, Synthego researchers developed a new class of guide molecules, CRISPRoff™, a synthetic sgRNA that fragments in response to light, enabling precise temporal and spatial control of double-strand breaks created during gene editing. The publication follows Synthego’s extension of the collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Genome Editing Consortium to further standards for precise and reproducible gene editing in therapeutic development.

“CRISPRoff and our NIST Consortium collaboration highlight our deep commitment and ability to create cutting-edge CRISPR platforms to standardize predictable gene editing across a variety of disease areas, helping drive the industry forward,” said Robert Deans, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of Synthego. “The ability to control off-target vulnerability and optimize CRISPR technology is critical, especially as Synthego platforms increasingly support clinical trials.” 

The in vitro research published in Nature Communications demonstrated that CRISPRoff is effective across multiple genomic targets in multiple cell lines and has the potential to optimize on-target editing events and the ability to spatially pattern cells in vitro. 

Unlike existing control strategies, CRISPRoff does not require additional engineering steps or changes to nucleases, enabling its fitting within existing CRISPR gene editing workflows without any modifications. CRISPRoff can also be chemically tuned to respond to different wavelengths of light, which also allows for multiplexed genome engineering. Importantly, the research also showed that the implementation of CRISPRoff enables modulation but does not impact genome editing efficiency, and it can be produced in a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)-grade format. 

“To achieve safe and controlled genome editing for the development of therapeutics, it is imperative that