QB3 Mentoring Program Awards Ciznor $100K Early-Stage Support to Advance CRISPR for ALS, FTD

Congratulations to Ciznor, a participant in QB3’s Early-Stage Mentoring Program, on winning a $100,000 award to advance their CRISPR therapy for neurodegenerative diseases.

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Dr. Claire Clelland, co-founder of Ciznor, with scientist Greg Mohl (second from left), QB3 managing director Kaspar Mossman (L) and lead mentor George Rehm (R), who advises Ciznor.

Ciznor is taking aim at amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia, which share the same leading cause: “repeat expansions” at a specific location in the genome, which present a promising target for gene editing. Ciznor won the QB3 Defeating Dementia Award at our April 14 symposium held with the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation; the award included admission to the Bakar Labs incubator. The new $100K award will enable company to test their technology in a mouse model of ALS.

“ALS and FTD are fatal and devastating diseases affecting thousands of patients and their families,” said Claire Clelland, MD, PhD, Ciznor’s co-founder and a clinician and assistant professor of neurology at UCSF. “We are honored to have QB3 and Bakar Labs’ support and validation as we advance gene therapy for these diseases toward the clinic.”

“Our intent with this award is to enable promising companies to obtain the proof-of-concept data that investors will be looking for,” said Kaspar Mossman, PhD, QB3 managing director, who leads the program. “Ciznor is pursuing an innovative solution to one of society’s most pressing needs, and they’ve shown they can listen to our mentors’ advice and adapt their approach.”

“It was gratifying to see an early mentee progressing so well toward commercialization,” said investor George Rehm, one of Ciznor’s mentors, who took part in the pitch session.

The goal of the QB3 mentoring program is to identify, recruit, and shape companies to become Bakar Labs tenants with a bright future. Taking applications quarterly, the program pairs biotech founders with mentors who have deep technical, operational, and investing experience in early-stage biotech. Twice a year selected program participants are invited to pitch for $100K awards, which are available either as academic grants to UC laboratories, or rent at Bakar Labs in exchange for a founder-friendly SAFE investment.

Interested in guidance from QB3 mentors? Apply by July 15 to join the next cohort. Learn more here.