CRISPR Mutant Ninja Turtles

Simone Brunozzi
Cota Capital
Published in
3 min readMar 26, 2021


Gene editing, its true potential and the dangers ahead

Join us on April 15th at 10:00am PT (San Francisco) for this free Cota Access online event to discuss the CRISPR gene editing technique, its true potential, and the dangers ahead.

CRISPR-Cas9, or simply CRISPR, a genome editing technique, has generated a lot of excitement in the scientific community. It relies on a sequence-specific guide RNA to direct a scissor-like, bacterial enzyme (Cas9) to just the right spot in the genome, where it can be used to cut out, replace, or repair disease-causing mutations. Not as cool as Ninja Turtles, but pretty close.

Life is a constant battle: organisms fend off viruses and other infecting pathogens. The well-being of bacteria has, understandably, been of less concern for humans, yet the battle between viruses and bacteria is brutal: there are 1031 bacteriophages on the planet, more than every other organism on Earth combined.

To survive, bacteria have developed adaptive immunity using CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats), also known as molecular scissors, to use proteins called Cas to snip portions of their DNA related to the virus. The discovery of CRISPR and Cas proteins led scientists to probe the use of this immunity mechanism to fight retroviruses in humans.

It’s the dawn of a new era for gene editing, and it’s hard to know where this breakthrough will lead.

Infectious diseases remain a global threat, with the persistent potential for destabilizing pandemics as we have seen with COVID-19. Can CRISPR help us? Is it dangerous to hope so?

As part of our Cota Access series of events, we will discuss what CRISPR is in more detail, why now is its moment to shine, and the main use cases where it has the potential to radically change healthcare and improve people’s lives.

Moderated by Cota Venture Partner Kian Beyzavi, PhD, a seasoned expert on emerging trends in life sciences, this panel will have two excellent speakers:

  • Ameena El-Bibany: Principal at ARTIS Ventures, focusing on early stage TechBio investing. As a scientist turned VC, she loves to work with founders and academics to help tech translation.
  • Daniel Dornbusch: CEO of Excision, developing CRISPR-based therapies to cure viral infectious diseases.

Cota Access is a recurring webinar that we host several times a year, where we bring together founders, thought leaders, and leading executives to explore a variety of business and technology trends and topics that fundamentally impact large enterprises.

Cota Capital is an SEC-registered, multi-stage investment firm based in San Francisco, focused on US-based modern enterprise technology. Cota has invested in over 75 private and 25 public technology companies since its inception in 2015, in the fields of infrastructure, workflow automation & applications, fintech, and healthtech.

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In addition to my affiliation with Cota as an Operating Partner, my podcast guests and Cota Access guests may also have similar or other affiliations with Cota. The views expressed are my own views and the views of my guests, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cota or any of its affiliates. Some of the information presented may have been provided by, or obtained from, third parties. While we strive to be accurate, neither we nor Cota guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information.

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Simone Brunozzi
Cota Capital

Tech, startups and investments. Global life. Italian heart.