Axcelead Drug Discovery Partners and ERS Genomics Enter into CRISPR/Cas9 License Agreement

Fujisawa, Japan and Dublin, Ireland,
October 4, 2018:

Axcelead Drug Discovery Partners, Inc.(hereinafter referred to as “Axcelead”) and ERS Genomics Limited (hereinafter referred to as “ERS Genomics”) announced today a non-exclusive license agreement to provide Axcelead with worldwide access to ERS Genomics’ CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing intellectual property to enhance their drug discovery service offering. ERS Genomics holds rights to the foundational CRISPR/Cas9 patent portfolio from Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier, co-inventor of the breakthrough gene editing technology.

Axcelead is the first comprehensive integrated drug discovery solutions provider in the pharmaceutical industry in Japan, having succeeded some portion of the drug discovery research department of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited. Axcelead started its business in July of 2017 and offers a comprehensive list of drug discovery services in a broad range of therapeutic areas.

“We look forward to being able to offer our customers an expanded service offering that includes use of this important gene editing technology,” said Yoshinori Ikeura, CEO of Axcelead. “We expect the addition of the CRISPR/Cas9 technology for creation of genetically modified animals or cells to complement our strong capability in non-clinical drug discovery research. These animals or cells are indispensable tools for reliable drug discovery studies including validation of target and proof of concept study.”

“We are pleased to include Axcelead among the rapidly growing list of licensees to this fundamental CRISPR/Cas9 patent portfolio,” commented Eric Rhodes, CEO of ERS Genomics. “This is our first license in Japan following the issuance of our patent in Japan back in May. I would also like to acknowledge the help of Summit Pharmaceuticals International Corporation, our licensing partner in Japan, in putting this agreement in place.”

Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier’s research unveiled the key components and mechanisms of the CRISPR/Cas9 system that led to the landmark publication with Jennifer Doudna (Jinek, Chylinski et al., 2012), which laid the foundation for the use of CRISPR/Cas9 as a highly versatile and precise genome editing tool.