Doudna-Charpentier team awarded U.S. patent for CRISPR-Cas9

The University of California announced today that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted patent number 10,000,772 covering the use of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing with formats that will be particularly useful in developing human therapeutics and improvements in food security.

CRISPR-Cas9 molecule

Schematic representation of the CRISPR-Cas9 system. The Cas9 enzyme (orange) cuts the DNA (blue) in the location selected by the RNA (red). Image courtesy of Carlos Clarivan/Science Photo Library/NTB Scanpix

In June 2012, a team led by Jennifer Doudna of UC Berkeley and Emmanuelle Charpentier, currently director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Germany, published in the journal Science the first article that described how CRISPR-Cas9 can make precise alterations in the DNA of bacteria, plants and animals. The Science article detailed what is now widely regarded as the scientific breakthrough of the century and led to research around the globe into new ways to cure disease and improve the human condition. Several other groups adopted the Doudna-Charpentier team’s CRISPR-Cas9 designs in subsequent successful research reported in 2013.

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), the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and other countries. The scope of the United States patent issued today broadly includes the use of a CRISPR-Cas9 compound that is specially engineered to be more easily employed inside any type of plant or animal cell, or outside a cell, in order to modify a gene or the expression of a gene.

“Today’s patent is one of many we anticipate will be awarded to these inventors for their CRISPR-Cas9 invention,” said Edward Penhoet, special advisor to the UC Berkeley chancellor and special assistant to the University of California president. “Six years ago, the Doudna-Charpentier team was the first to file a patent application and publish on the necessary and sufficient components that enable CRISPR-Cas9 to be employed in all environments, including plant and animal cells. Their remarkable research has only accelerated since then, creating new jobs and opening up new possibilities to improve life.”

The U.S. patent granted today (10,000,772) is not involved in any interference proceeding before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or any appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

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