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CRISPR Developers Make it Easier to License Gene-Editing Technology

September 6, 2019


Two major developers of CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology plan to make it easier for researchers to license their intellectual property for use in commercial research and product development.

CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. CRISPR-Cas9 is a system found in bacteria that helps with immune defence. Like a tiny pair of molecular scissors, the Cas9 component allows scientists to precisely cut away flawed parts of genes.

The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard (“Broad”) and MilliporeSigma, the life-sciences tools division of German pharmaceutical giant Merck KGaA (“Merck”), have agreed to a framework through which they will grant researchers nonexclusive rights to patents held by both organizations with a single licence. Non-profit and academic institutions will be permitted to license the patents for free while others will have to pay a fee.

According to MilliporeSigma CEO Udit Batra, the Broad-Merck partnership aims to simplify the path to licensing CRISPR technology, which will “make it more widely available to the global research and discovery community” and “make it easier for … customers to be successful in their research that shortens drug development timelines for previously untreatable diseases.”



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