NAPIGEN completes $7.85 million funding round to move forward


WILMINGTON, Delaware, July 12 11, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — NAPIGEN, a company developing proprietary technology to edit mitochondrial and chloroplast genomes, has completed a $7.85 million seed funding round.

The Grantham Foundation and RA Capital Management led the round. Breakout Labs/Thiel Foundation, Thrive SVG Ventures, MARSBIO, and the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation also provided funding.

NAPIGEN will use the funding to apply its mitochondrial gene editing technology for the production of wheat and rice hybrid seeds. Additionally, NAPIGEN will use its technology to develop useful mitochondrial expression systems for plant mitochondria.

“We need a lot more grain than people can currently produce to sustain high population growth, a situation that is being aggravated by geopolitical conflicts,” said NAPIGEN co-founder and CEO Dr. Hajime Sakai. “This can only be possible by breaking the biological yield limit of cultivated plants, which is exactly what we aim to do. Increased yields benefit both agriculture and environmental protection by reducing the need for deforestation to create new farmland, as well as decreasing the use of agricultural chemicals.

NAPIGEN is a unique gene-editing company that specializes in modifying cytoplasmic genomes, such as mitochondrial and chloroplast DNA, for improvements in agriculture, industrial biotechnology and human health. NAPIGEN has previously demonstrated the use of CRISPR technology for genome editing of organellar DNA in yeast and algae (see: Cas9/gRNA-mediated genome editing of yeast mitochondria and Chlamydomonas chloroplasts, PeerJ8:e8362;

More recently, NAPIGEN has applied its technology to the genetic editing of plant mitochondrial DNA in rice. NAPIGEN has also received funding from the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation and the NIH-SBIR program to apply its technology to gene editing of human mitochondrial DNA.

Although CRISPR technology has been widely used to engineer nuclear DNA in many organisms, mitochondria and chloroplasts – the powerhouses of cells – have proven more difficult to target with this approach due to challenges in supply of RNA or DNA to organelles. NAPIGEN’s mission is to harness the potential of organelles to make our society a better place to live.

NAPIGEN is a biotechnology company that deals with novel genome engineering of various organisms such as plants, microbes and animals. Its technology targets mitochondria and chloroplasts, two special cellular components that house their own DNA and are important for creating energy for cell growth. They are also essential for the production of various biochemical molecules essential for specific pathways and functions. NAPIGEN’s genome technology has many applications in human and animal health, agriculture and industrial biotechnology. A group of accomplished scientists, entrepreneurs and investors founded the company, including Dr. Hajime Sakai, Dr. Jay Keasling, Dr. Ganesh Kishore and Dr. Roger Wyse. For more information, visit

Daniel Levine
Levine Media Group
[email protected]
(510) 280-5405

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