European Patent Office Grants Second Charpentier/Doudna Patent Covering CRISPR-Cas9 Gene Regulation Applications
DUBLIN, Ireland, February 28, 2018 - ERS Genomics announced today that the European Patent Office (EPO) has granted Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier, ERS Genomics’ co-founder, together with the University of California and University of Vienna, its second EU patent with very broad claims covering the use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology for gene regulation. The claims are directed to compositions and uses of a chimeric version of the Cas9 protein, most often associated with use in regulation of gene expression as opposed to direct editing of the genetic code itself. The patent covers uses in both cellular and non-cellular settings, including use in bacteria, plants, animals, and cells from vertebrate animals such as humans.
“Going beyond gene editing, this second patent addresses yet another set of important applications of the CRISPR technology, which are becoming widely used in new drug discovery efforts and other areas of research,” commented Eric Rhodes, CEO of ERS Genomics. “This form of CRISPR is broadly enabling as it allows researchers to selectively repress or activate genes of interest to determine their function. It is the newest tool being used to discern the role of genes in disease, ultimately leading to new therapeutic applications.”
The most popular embodiments of this form of the CRISPR technology are known as CRISPR-i (inhibitory CRISPR) and CRISPR-a (activating CRISPR). Both make use of a modified form of the Cas9 protein in which its cutting function is inactivated while leaving its targeting capability intact. This modified form of Cas9 can then be linked to any number of protein subdomains that have the ability to impair or enhance the expression of the gene to which the Cas9 complex targets them. The approach is widely used in combination with large libraries of single guide RNAs (sgRNAS) and known as ‘sgRNA screening’ to identify genes involved in particular cell processes, including their role in causing disease.
“It is gratifying to see CRISPR being deployed so broadly to help identify and understand so many new areas in biology,” said Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier, ERS co-founder together with Shaun Foy, and a principal inventor on the patent. “The breadth of areas into which CRISPR is now being applied and the impact it is having is truly exciting.”
ERS Genomics was formed to provide broad access to the foundational CRISPR/Cas9 intellectual property held by Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier. Non-exclusive licenses are available for research and sale of products and services across multiple fields including: research tools, kits, reagents; discovery of novel targets for therapeutic intervention; cell lines for discovery and screening of novel drug candidates; GMP production of healthcare products; production of industrial materials such as enzymes, biofuels and chemicals; and synthetic biology. For additional information please visit www.ersgenomics.com.