UC awarded third CRISPR patent, expanding its gene-editing portfolio

March 12, 2019
By: Public Affairs

The University of California announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued U.S. Patent Number 10,227,611 covering use of single-molecule RNA guides and Cas9 protein in any cell, thus creating efficient and effective ways for scientists to target and edit genes. This patent is co-owned by The Regents of the University of California, the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier.

The CRISPR-Cas9 DNA-targeting technology, invented by Jennifer Doudna and Martin Jinek at UC Berkeley, Emmanuelle Charpentier, then of Umea University in Sweden, and Krzystof Chylinski of the University of Vienna, is a fundamental tool for editing genes. In its May 25, 2012 priority application, the Doudna-Charpentier team disclosed the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology and its applications in any setting, including in vitro and cellular and non-cellular environments, as well as single molecule RNA guides, among many other inventions.

Another patent is expected to be issued by the USPTO in the next several weeks based on U.S. Patent Application No. 13/842,859, which covers methods and systems for modifying a target DNA molecule in any setting, including in any cell type as well as in vitro, using one or multiple single-guide RNAs. Together, these two patents, as well as previously issued U.S. Patent Nos. 10,000,772 and 10,113,167, cover CRISPR-Cas9 compositions and methods useful to locate and edit genes in any setting, including within plant, animal and human cells

“The Doudna-Charpentier teams’ invention is changing the future of our world for the better,” said Edward Penhoet, a special advisor to the UC Berkeley chancellor and special assistant to the UC president. “We are pleased that the USPTO has recognized the unique importance of each of the CRISPR innovations that have been pioneered here at the University of California with its collaborators.”

The international scientific community has widely acknowledged the pioneering nature of the Doudna-Charpentier invention of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology and its applications through numerous awards, including the Breakthrough Prize in Life Science, Japan Prize, Gruber Prize in Genetics, BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award and Kavli Prize in Nanoscience.

In addition to these US patents, the work of the Doudna-Charpentier team has resulted in patents for the use of CRISPR-Cas9 for gene editing in all types of cells issued by the European Patent Office, which represents more than 30 countries, as well as patent offices in the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and other countries.

UC 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. Caribou has sublicensed this patent family to numerous companies worldwide, including Intellia Therapeutics, Inc. for certain human therapeutic applications. Additionally, Charpentier has licensed the technology to CRISPR Therapeutics AG and ERS Genomics Limited.

The U.S. patent granted today (U.S. 10,227,611) was not involved in the previous interference proceeding before the USPTO Patent Trial and Appeal Board.