Company Profile: Element Genomics

CED Life Science Conference 2018 - Showcase (Coulter)

Sub-sector: Biotechnology – Drug Development
Year Founded: 2015

Most common diseases, (heart disease, diabetes, cancer, auto-immune disease, psychiatric disease, etc.) have a strong genetic component.  However, recent studies that relate genetic variation to these diseases have shown that the variants related to common disease are not in the genes themselves but in the areas of the genome that regulate gene expression.  This area of the genome, formerly known as ”junk DNA”, is controlled by chemical and structural modifications, known as the epigenome, rather than changes to gene sequences.  Element’s founders have developed the first comprehensive tool kit for the targeted perturbation and understanding of the epigenome.   Element is using this tool kit to develop drugs that operate through the epigenome to alter gene levels, rather than directly targeting the proteins that are the product of these genes.  Thus Element can address situations where more of a protein is required by turning a gene on, or where drugs cannot inhibit a disease protein, such as repressing the production of undruggable oncogenes.  There are multiple billion-dollar market opportunities for Element’s development program.

Charles Gersbach – Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University
Greg Crawford – Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Duke University Medical Center
Tim Reddy – Assistant Professor of Bioinformatics, Duke University Medical Center
Kris Wood – Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology, Duke University Medical Center
John Oxaal – CEO


  • Received $5M seed financing in December 2016
  • Began lab operations in BioLabs in Downtown Durham, NC in December 2016

ARCH Venture Partners; Piedmont Ventures, One NC Small Business Program

John Oxaal

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