UC awarded 12th patent for CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology

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The UC system and partners University of Vienna and Emmanuelle Charpentier were awarded a 12th patent for the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, on Tuesday.

CRISPR technology was developed by a team of researchers, including campus biochemistry and molecular biology professor Jennifer Doudna and former campus postdoctoral researcher Martin Jinek. Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology and Krzysztof Chylinski of the University of Vienna also developed the technology and are co-owners of the patent.

“The new patent covers compositions of single-molecule, DNA-targeting RNA and a Cas9 protein or nucleic acid encoding the Cas9 protein,” according to a UC Berkeley press release.

Claims for five additional patents have also been allowed by the USPTO — one of which will be released Sept. 10 — bringing the campus’s patent total to 17. These patents cover multiple methods of targeting and editing genes, including within plants, as well as animal and human cells.

With open-licensing policies, the UC allows nonprofit institutions, including academic institutions, to use the technology for noncommercial educational and research purposes.

The UC also has an exclusive license with Caribou Biosciences Inc., a CRISPR-Cas genome-editing company based in Berkeley, which sublicenses the patent family to several international companies and encourages the development and commercialization of the technology, according to the press release.

“The continued recognition from the USPTO of the Doudna-Charpentier team for the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology speaks to the revolutionary nature of the team’s work,” said Eldora Ellison, the lead patent strategist on CRISPR-Cas9 matters for UC and a director at the law firm Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox, in the press release. “The university remains committed to its fundamental mission of applying the CRISPR-Cas9 invention for the public good.”

Amanda Bradford is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @amandabrad_uc.