First License Granted for New CRISPR Systems

Alex Philippidis, GEN News Highlights, 13 November 2017, https://www.genengnews.com/gen-news-highlights/excision-biotherapeutics-licenses-new-crispr-systems-from-uc-berkeley/81255156

Excision BioTherapeutics is the first to exclusively license the new CRISPR systems discovered by Jennifer Doudna’s group in 2016.  These new CRISPR systems were found in uncultivated microbes and are significantly smaller than Cas9, allowing for easier delivery into target cells.  These new CRISPR/Cas proteins do not interfere with the ongoing patent battle between UC-Berkeley and The Broad Institute, allowing for a much simpler patent landscape.

Could CRISPR/Cas Claims Inhibit Innovation?

Gray, B.N and Spruill, W.M. (2017) Nature Biotechnology 35:630-633. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28700549

The ongoing patent battle between the Broad Institute and the University of California-Berkeley provides difficulties for researchers and companies wishing to develop CRISPR/Cas technology, though this is not the only barrier.  This article describes the broad claims that have been granted or that are being investigated and presents the argument that these claims are overly broad and could limit the genome editing field.

The Broad Institute and DuPont Pioneer to Provide CRISPR Licenses

GenomeWeb, 18 October 2017, https://www.genomeweb.com/business-news/broad-dupont-pioneer-partner-provide-non-exclusive-licenses-crispr-ip

DuPont Pioneer and the Broad Institute will provide non-exclusive licenses for their CRISPR/Cas intellectual property to any organization.  These licenses will be provided free of charge to both universities and non-profit organizations involved in academic research.  Notably, the deal does not include gene drives or tobacco products designed for human use.

MilliporeSigma Granted European CRISPR Patent

Alex Philippidis, GEN News Highlights, 07 August 2017, http://www.genengnews.com/gen-news-highlights/milliporesigma-to-be-granted-european-patent-for-crispr-technology/81254776

The European Patent Office has issued a “Notice of Intention to Grant” to MilliporeSigma for CRISPR technology consisting of claims related to single guide gene editing in both cellular and non-cellular systems, including human and mammalian cells, in addition to claims related to therapeutic treatment of a patient.  By issuing this patent the European patent landscape is on its way to becoming as complicated as that of the US.

Cellectis Wins CRISPR Patent in Europe

Jonathan Wosen, GEN News Highlights, 25 July 2017, http://www.genengnews.com/gen-news-highlights/cellectis-granted-t-cell-crispr-patent-in-europe/81254707

French biotech company Cellectis has been granted a European patent to use CRISPR in T cells valid until 2034.  Cellectis hopes to use this technology to edit T cells for cancer therapy. While other companies are pursuing similar treatments, Cellectis hopes to develop a universal CAR-T cell line that can be widely used without tailoring treatment to individuals.

Intellia Therapeutics Wins China CRISPR Patent

GEN News Highlights, 19 June 2017, http://www.genengnews.com/gen-news-highlights/intellia-holder-of-rights-to-ucs-crispr-technology-to-win-china-patent/81254529

Intellia Therapeutics, founded by Jennifer Doudna, has been awarded a broad patent for the CRISPR/Cas9 single guide gene editing system.  Intellia has licensed the CRISPR technology developed by Jennifer Doudna at the University of California-Berkeley. This latest announcement comes on the tails of the European Patent Office’s announcement favoring UC-Berkeley as well.

DuPont Pioneer Acquires Exclusive CRISPR License

GenomeWeb, 27 June 2017, https://www.genomeweb.com/gene-silencinggene-editing/dupont-pioneer-licenses-crispr-tech-ers-genomics

ERS Genomics, founded to commercialize the intellectual property of Emmanuelle Charpentier, has granted an exclusive license to DuPont Pioneer covering CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technologies for all plant and agricultural applications.  The details of the agreement were not disclosed.

University of California Appeals CRISPR Patent Decision

Sharon Begley, 13 April 2017, STAT News, https://www.statnews.com/2017/04/13/crispr-patent-uc-appeal/

UC-Berkeley has filed an appeal with the federal Court of Appeals.  UC-Berkeley was joined in its appeal by the University of Vienna and Emmanuelle Charpentier.  Previously, the US Patent office had ruled that UC-Berkeley’s and the Broad Institute’s patents did not interfere, leaving them both able to pursue unique patents.  In this appeal, UC-Berkeley hopes to establish that the teams led by Doudna and Charpentier were the first to engineer CRISPR/Cas9 in all cell types.

UC-Berkeley Awarded CRISPR Patents in Europe

Jef Akst, The Scientist, 24 March 2017, http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/48987/title/UC-Berkeley-Receives-CRISPR-Patent-in-Europe/

The European patent office has announced its intention to award broad CRISPR patents to the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Vienna.  The awarded patents will cover the use of the CRISPR technology in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells/organisms, contrasting with the US patent office which denied UC-Berkeley the rights to eukaryotic cells.

Broad Institute prevails over UC-Berkeley in patent battle

Heidi Ledford, Nature News, 15 February 2017 http://www.nature.com/news/broad-institute-wins-bitter-battle-over-crispr-patents-1.21502

The US patent office judges have ruled that the Broad Institutes and UC-Berkeley’s patents do not interfere, providing a win for the Broad.  This effectively allows both UC-Berkeley and the Broad to have patents covering portions of the CRISPR intellectual property landscape, possibly requiring companies to license patents from both institutions.  This decision may be appealed to the circuit courts by UC-Berkeley.