Merck KGaA Wins new US CRISPR Patents
German pharmaceuticals and life sciences group Merck has won US approval for its CRISPR-Cas9-assisted genome-editing patents and now is looking to license the technology to US scientists and researchers for their gene therapy development programs.
Merck said it is in “active discussions” about licensing the technology and at the same time is looking for collaboration partners for research and product development. “Now is the time for key CRISPR intellectual property stakeholders to come together to simplify technology access via patent pooling agreements,” the Darmstadt-based group said.
The latest allowances cover Merck’s CRISPR-Cas9 cleavage and integration technology, which it said permit researchers to replace a disease-associated mutation with a beneficial or functional sequence or delete such a mutation. The knock in and knock out methods are critical for the creation of disease models and development of gene therapy.
The new grants mark the group’s 25th and 26th CRISPR patents worldwide and its third and fourth in the US. Merck received its first US patent in February 2019 for its proxy-CRISPR technology, which it said makes genome editing more efficient, flexible and specific. It also holds CRISPR patents in Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Israel, Singapore and South Korea, with related patent filings in Brazil, India and Japan.
CRISPR-based DNA cleavage and integration are fundamental for many genome-editing applications and can be used to develop personalized therapies,” said Udit Batra, member of the Merck executive board and CEO, Life Science. “As a leading innovator of CRISPR technology, we will license this technology to ensure that the full potential of this powerful tool is realized, responsibly and ethically, throughout the scientific community.”