UC receives 5th patent for CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing system

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the university a new patent for the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 system of gene-editing technology on Tuesday. The patent, No. 10,301,651, covers methods of modulating DNA transcription.

This is the fifth patent that the UC system, the University of Vienna and professor Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology have received for CRISPR. The patent details techniques for activated gene expression, which form a “toolset” that enables genes to be turned up or down.

CRISPR-Cas9 is a system for editing genes invented by campus professor of molecular and cell biology and chemistry Jennifer Doudna, campus postdoctoral researcher Martin Jinek, Charpentier, and Krzysztof Chylinski of the University of Vienna. The invention was recognized with numerous awards, including the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the Gruber Prize in Genetics and the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience.

“This patent claims new methods for using a CRISPR system to control expression of genes, allowing scientists to study or manipulate genes in a variety of ways,” said Eldora Ellison, the lead patent strategist on CRISPR-Cas9 matters for the UC system and a director at the Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox law firm, in an email sent by Cate Cronin, a member of the university’s public relations team related to CRISPR-Cas9 matters.

While nonprofit institutions such as other academic organizations may use the university’s CRISPR patents for noncommercial, educational and research purposes, the university also shares CRISPR technology with corporations internationally such as Intellia Therapeutics.

Through an exclusive license with Caribou Biosciences Inc. of Berkeley, the university sublicenses CRISPR technology to other companies.

“Today’s patent further builds on the numerous CRISPR-Cas9 techniques covered by UC’s patents, and the university is committed to ensuring the technology is used to benefit society,” Ellison said in a UC Berkeley press release. “We anticipate that UC’s robust portfolio of intellectual property surrounding its CRISPR-Cas9 inventions will continue to expand.”

Yao Huang is the lead research and ideas reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @Yhoneplus.