30 March 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

CRISPR Therapeutics snags patent

The European Patent Office has confirmed it will grant CRISPR Therapeutics’s a patent “broadly” covering gene-editing technology.

The claims are directed to the CRISPR/Cas9 single-guide gene editing system for uses in both non-cellular and cellular settings, including in cells from vertebrate animals such as human or mammalian cells.

It also covers composition claims for use in any setting, including claims for use in a method of therapeutic treatment of a patient.

Dr Rodger Novak, CEO of CRISPR Therapeutics, said: “We’re very pleased with the decision by the European Patent Office recognising the broad applicability of our foundational IP, and we look forward to pursuing additional cases to grant in other jurisdictions globally.”

The European patent application (13793997) was the subject of numerous third-party observations, including from the Broad Institute, in a bid to prevent its grant.

The underlying international patent application is based on the same US priority application that has been disputed in the US on behalf of CRISPR Therapeutics co-founder Dr Emmanuelle Charpentier and the University of California and University of Vienna.

The UK IP Office has signed off on the related applications.

It has granted a UK patent to the CRISPR/Cas9 single-guide gene editing system for uses in both non-cellular and cellular settings (2518764), and a second (2537000) to ‘chimeric’ CRISPR/Cas9 systems in which the Cas9 protein is modified to provide alternative DNA-modulating activities.

Dr Tyler Dylan-Hyde, chief legal officer at CRISPR Therapeutics, added: “We look forward to pursuing similar findings in the US under the first-to-invent system—and throughout the approximately 80 other countries our filings cover worldwide, including Europe, all of which are on a first-to-file priority system.”

The grant follows the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) ruling in February, which upheld two patents for CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology because they were aimed at “distinctly patentable subject matter”.

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