UC receives its 11th U.S. patent for CRISPR-Cas9

The University of California, the University of Vienna and Emmanuelle Charpentier received an 11th U.S. patent involving CRISPR-Cas9, further expanding the reach of UC’s patented technology relating to this revolutionary gene-editing tool.

The Cas9 protein/RNA complex

The CRISPR-Cas9 DNA-targeting complex, discovered by Jennifer Doudna, Emmanuelle Charpentier and their teams at UC Berkeley and the University of Vienna, is one of the fundamental molecular technologies behind the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9  tool for editing or modulating genes.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today awarded to UC U.S. Patent 10,385,360, which covers nucleic acid molecules encoding single-molecule guide RNAs, as well as CRISPR-Cas9 compositions comprising single-molecule guide RNAs or nucleic acid molecules encoding single-molecule guide RNAs.

Over the past six months, UC’s U.S. CRISPR-Cas9 portfolio has sharply increased, and UC anticipates at least six additional related patents to be issued in the near future, bringing UC’s total to 17 patents spanning various compositions and methods, including targeting and editing genes in any setting, such as within plant, animal, and human cells. The portfolio also includes patents related to the modulation of transcription.

“The USPTO has continually acknowledged the Doudna-Charpentier team’s groundbreaking work,” said Eldora Ellison, the lead patent strategist on CRISPR-Cas9 matters for UC and a director at Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox. “True to UC’s mission as a leading public university, the patent granted today and others in its CRISPR-Cas9 portfolio will be applied for the betterment of society.”

The team that invented the CRISPR-Cas9 DNA-targeting technology included Doudna and Martin Jinek at UC Berkeley; Charpentier, then at Umea University in Sweden and now director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Germany; and Krzysztof Chylinski of the University of Vienna. The methods covered by today’s patent, as well as the other methods claimed in UC’s previously issued patents and those set to issue, were included among the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology work disclosed first by the Doudna-Charpentier team in its May 25, 2012, priority patent application.

Additional CRISPR-Cas9 patents in this team’s portfolio include 10,000,772; 10,113,167; 10,227,611; 10,266,850; 10,301,651; 10,308,961; 10,337,029; 10,351,878; 10,358,658; and 10,358,659. These patents remain unchallenged and are not a part of the PTAB’s recently declared interference between 10 UC patent applications and multiple previously issued Broad Institute patents and one application. The interference, initiated by the patent board, potentially jeopardizes almost all of the Broad’s CRISPR patents involving eukaryotic cells.

International patent offices have also recognized the pioneering innovations of the Doudna-Charpentier team. The European Patent Office, which represents more than 30 countries and patent offices in the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and other countries, have issued patents for the use of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing in all types of cells.

University of California has a long-standing commitment to develop and apply its patented technologies, including CRISPR-Cas9, for the betterment of humankind. Consistent with its open-licensing policies, UC allows nonprofit institutions, including academic institutions, to use the technology for non-commercial educational and research purposes.

In the case of CRISPR-Cas9, UC has also encouraged widespread commercialization of the technology through its exclusive license with Caribou Biosciences, Inc. of Berkeley, California. Caribou has sublicensed this patent family to numerous companies worldwide, including Intellia Therapeutics, Inc. for certain human therapeutic applications. Additionally, Dr. Charpentier has licensed the technology to CRISPR Therapeutics AG and ERS Genomics Limited.

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