Posted by on June 19, 2018 5:02 pm
Categories: CRISPR-Google

Source: UC granted a key CRISPR patent

The University of California has scored a victory in the multi-fronted war for rights to CRISPR-Cas9 technology, a powerful tool for editing genomes.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted UC a patent covering the use of CRISPR-Cas9 for editing genome regions of 10 to 15 nucleotides long.  Nucleotides are the 3 billion letters that write the genome’s book of life.

Last week, the government granted a less significant patent to UC, covering use of CRISPR-Cas9 to edit genetic material called single-stranded RNA.

Tuesday’s decision “is one of many we anticipate will be awarded to these inventors for their CRISPR-Cas9 invention,” said Dr. Edward Penhoet, special advisor to the chancellor at UC Berkeley and special assistant to the University of California president.

UC sees a number of potential applications in research, diagnostics, and industry for their new CRISPR patent.

But some experts see it differently.  New York Law School associate professor Jacob Sherkow told the publication STAT that he expected the patents to have “pretty minimal” commercial value.

Meanwhile, UC continues its bitter legal fight with Boston’s Broad Institute over U.S. rights to CRISPR use in plant and animal cells – a broader and arguably the most valuable patent. Tuesday’s patent is not one of those involved in that proceeding.

UC is appealing a patent office decision that the Broad can keep its key CRISPR patents. If UC loses again, that’s it; a Supreme Court appeal is considered highly unlikely, according to Sharon Begley of STAT, a national science news publication. Neutral observers think a resolution — any resolution — is what’s needed to get serious settlement talks going and maybe create a patent pool, she said.

But patents for the wide use of CRISPR-Cas9 for gene editing all types of cells have already been issued to the Doudna-Charpentier team by the European Patent Office, representing more than 30 countries, as well as the United Kingdom, China, Japan,  Australia, New Zealand and Mexico.

The CRISPR gene-editing tool gives scientists near godlike power: moving genes from one living creature to another. In a mere five years, it has transformed research into plant and animal breeding. Research is also progressing in efforts to cure hereditary disease and combat infectious disease and cancer.

CRISPR’s scientific breakthrough – with the potential to cure countless genetic disorders from sickle cell anemia to cystic fibrosis – was devised in 2012 by UC Berkeley cell biologist Jennifer Doudna and her European collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier. It was improved upon by Broad Institute’s Feng Zhang.

“Their remarkable research has only accelerated since then creating new jobs and opening up new possibilities to improve life,” said Penhoet.

CRISPR research is a large field that involves contributions from many talented scientists around the world – so many CRISPR patents are out there, each different enough to be considered a unique invention. A patent gives an inventor ownership of their discovery. If anyone else wants commercial use of it, they have to pay to license that right.20150508_075515_SJM-CRISPR-0510

The US Patent and Trademark Office has issued more than 60 patents with claims to CRISPR to approximately 100 inventors from 18 applicant organizations, according to the Broad Institute.

The European Patent Office has issued more than 20 such patents to approximately 30 inventors from about ten applicant institutions.

Published at Tue, 19 Jun 2018 16:32:00 +0000