Cimeio was built from Jeker’s lab by Versant Ventures at the company’s “Ridgeline” incubator in Basel, which has previously produced companies like Monte Rosa Therapeutics and Black Diamond Therapeutics. The initial $50 million Versant provided will fund Cimeio through next year, said Alex Mayweg, a managing director at the venture firm and a Cimeio board member. Additional investors will be brought on later this year or early next, Mayweg said.

Cimeio will need the money, as its research and development plans are expansive. The company has identified four drug candidates already and envisions a dozen more behind those, said Fuchs. Its research spans blood cancers, rare genetic diseases and autoimmune disorders.

In some cases, Cimeio will develop paired immunotherapies to go with the shielded cells. In others, it will use existing treatments. Three of the first four candidates involve protecting hematopoietic stem cells, while the fourth involves T cells. The company hopes to begin human testing next year.

Cimeio plans to choose gene editing technologies based on the type of alteration it needs to make to shield cells. “Rather than building up an internal editing capability,” Mayweg said, “we wanted to stay as flexible as possible.”

That might mean partnerships or alliances with other companies, some of which have reached out to Cimeio already, according to Mayweg.

Cimeio is aided by a group of scientific advisers notable for their work in areas the company is focusing on. Urnov, of the University of California, Berkeley, is well known for his research in gene editing using zinc finger nucleases and CRISPR. Bluestone previously led the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and is CEO of the cell therapy-focused biotech Sonoma Biotherapeutics.

Suneet Agarwal, a co-program leader of the stem cell transplant center at Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, is also on the advisory board, while Cimeio has a research collaboration in place with Matthew Porteus, a gene editing specialist at Stanford University.

About 20 people currently work at Cimeio directly, a number Fuchs expects will grow as the company’s research advances. Another 15 are currently supporting Cimeio from Versant’s Ridgeline group.