UC‘s 20th U.S. patent on CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technologies

A New Year’s Eve gift has been granted by the federal government to the University of California— its 20th U.S. patent on CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technologies. The addition extends a large patent portfolio that is already being used to develop crop and seed breeding and human and animal health.

The new patent is the 18th concerning CRISPR-Cas9 technology granted this year by the University of Vienna and Emmanuelle Charpentier, who co-invented the technology with Jennifer Doudna of UC Berkeley, professor of molecular and cell biology and chemistry. Charpentier is currently the head of the Berlin-based Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology.

“2019 has been an incredibly important and successful year in our ongoing efforts to maintain UC as the pioneer of CRISPR-Cas9 Intellectual Property in the United States,” said Eldora L. Ellison, CRISPR-Cas9 University Patent Strategist and President of Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox, an intellectual property law firm. “We are inspired by this year’s USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) recognition of the leadership of the Doudna-Charpentier team on CRISPR-Cas9 and look forward to working to grow our portfolio by 2020.”

In accordance with the UC’s long-standing dedication to developing and applying its proprietary inventions to human enhancement, the university allows non-profit institutions, including academic institutions, to use the groundbreaking CRISPR-Cas9 technology for non-commercial research and educational purposes.

The UC also encouraged the widespread marketing of CRISPR-Cas9 technology through an exclusive license with Berkeley, California’s Caribou Biosciences Inc., which has sub-licensed the patent family to numerous companies around the world. The technology is currently being used to modify cattle, sheep and pig genomes to help fend off disease, create screens for human disease medications, generate updated human and mouse cell lines to help researchers understand and manage these disorders in humans, and manufacture research reagents.

In addition, Caribou licenses the technology for human medical uses to Intellia Therapeutics Inc., specifically cancer treatments, genetic disorders, viral infections and inflammatory diseases. The new patent (U.S. Patent 10,519,467), which proposes a method of generating a genetically engineered cell using CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing, is part of a collection of foreign and domestic patents that includes multiple CRISPR-Cas9 formulations and methods, such as controlling and editing genes and modulating transcription in any environment, even within plant, animal and human cells. The UC’s 20 patents are the largest portfolio of CRISPR-Cas9 patents in the U.S. The UC has received notices of allowance for the issuance of five additional patents in early 2020.