Metagenomi Appoints Simon Harnest as Chief Investment Officer

EMERYVILLE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Metagenomi, a gene editing company with a versatile portfolio of next-generation tools that enable precise edits to in vivo and ex vivo applications, today announced the appointment of Simon Harnest as Chief Investment Officer and SVP Strategy. As a key member of Metagenomi’s leadership team, Harnest will oversee investor relations and drive corporate and financial strategy.

“I am delighted that we are appointing an individual of Simon’s caliber as our Chief Investment Officer,” said Brian C. Thomas, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of Metagenomi. “Simon brings an impressive track record in identifying and securing funding in biotech, as well as adding excellent leadership experience and strong communication skills to Metagenomi. I look forward to him being an active and engaged member of our executive team. This is a pivotal time in Metagenomi’s growth and we look forward to Simon’s contributions as we expand our gene editing platform in our drive to cure genetic disease.”

“I am honored and excited to be joining such an impressive and fast-growing team at Metagenomi. Founded by a world-renowned group of scientists out of UC Berkeley, and with the backing of dedicated partners and top-tier investors, Metagenomi has built a tremendous, wholly owned IP portfolio within the gene editing landscape. The wealth of its gene editing capabilities, combined with high-throughput AI systems for discovery and automation, offer a complete toolbox now — and an amazing opportunity for the future,” Harnest said. “I believe the company is well positioned to execute on its goal of revolutionizing gene editing for the benefits of patients. I look forward to working with such an incredible team through our next phase of growth.”

Harnest was most recently Chief Investment Officer at Cellectis and brings extensive experience in corporate development and investment strategy. During his tenure at Cellectis, he served in various leadership roles across corporate strategy and finance and investor relations. Harnest led the company through its successful U.S. initial public offering and subsequent follow-on offerings, as well as the spin-out and IPO of its plant science gene editing subsidiary Calyxt, where he served simultaneously as Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Finance. Prior to Cellectis, Simon was Vice President at The Trout Group / Trout Capital, where he led financial advisory for numerous private and publicly listed life science companies. Harnest holds an MSc in Public Health from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BSc in Economics from the University of Westminster.

Recent Corporate Highlights

  • In May, Metagenomi presented its multiple gene editing programs at the 24th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT), with encouraging preclinical data supporting its novel CRISPR-associated transposases (CAST) system and CRISPR-associated systems for ex vivo and in vivo gene editing applications and cell therapy development.
  • In April, Metagenomi extended its Series A financing to $75 million.
  • In March, Metagenomi appointed Jian Irish, Ph.D. as Chief Operating Officer to oversee organizational development and the operationalization of Metagenomi’s gene editing platform. Before joining Metagenomi, Dr. Irish was Senior Vice President, Global Head of Manufacturing at Kite Pharma.

About Metagenomi

Metagenomi is a gene editing company committed to developing potentially curative therapeutics by leveraging a proprietary toolbox of next-generation gene editing systems to accurately edit DNA where current technologies cannot. Our metagenomics-powered discovery platform and analytical expertise reveal novel cellular machinery sourced from otherwise unknown organisms. We adapt and forge these naturally evolved systems into powerful therapeutic tools that can be leveraged by partners and fuel our own pipeline of novel medicines. Our goal is to revolutionize gene editing for the benefit of patients around the world. For more information, please visit


Media Contact:
Ashlye Hodge
+1 (510) 734-4409

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