Bitter CRISPR patent war intensifies

Oct 26, 2017

By Heidi Ledford

The long-running battle over US patents for CRISPR–Cas9 gene editing continues. On 25 October, the Broad Institute of Cambridge, Massachusetts, filed a fresh set of arguments with the US government to defend a key patent.

That action helps to set the stage for a second round of oral arguments in the unusually vitriolic case, which observers expect to take place in early 2018. A decision is anticipated to follow shortly thereafter.

In the filing, lawyers for the Broad and its collaborators argued that its opponent, a team that includes the University of California, Berkeley, has failed to provide new evidence that would undermine the legitimacy of the Broad’s patent. The lawyers also used the University of California’s own press releases as a sign that the case should be thrown out.

At stake are intellectual-property rights to the use of CRISPR–Cas9 gene-editing tools in eukaryotes, organisms such as plants and animals. This would include applications of the technique to treat human genetic diseases — an approach that has recently entered cancer clinical trials in China, and is potentially the most lucrative application of gene editing.

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One comment on “Bitter CRISPR patent war intensifies”

  • @OP – The long-running battle over US patents for CRISPR–Cas9 gene editing continues. On 25 October, the Broad Institute of Cambridge, Massachusetts, filed a fresh set of arguments with the US government to defend a key patent.

    It did not take long for commercialism to rear its ugly head, and intrude into work which should be available to the whole scientific community and be benefiting everyone!

    I see progress here:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41724994

    Scientists have demonstrated an “incredibly powerful” ability to manipulate the building blocks of life in two separate studies.

    One altered the order of atoms in DNA to rewrite the human genetic code and the instructions for life.

    The other edited RNA, which is a chemical cousin of DNA and unlocks the information in the genetic code.

    The studies – which could eventually treat diseases – have been described as clever, important and exciting.

    Cystic fibrosis, inherited blindness and other diseases caused by a single typo in the genetic code could ultimately be prevented or treated with such approaches.

    Both studies were performed at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

    The first, published in the journal Nature, developed tools called base editors.

    The second study, published in the journal Science, focused on RNA, another of the molecules essential for life.

    Dr Helen O’Neill, from UCL, said: “This is an exciting week for genetic research.

    “These papers highlight the fast pace of the field and the continuous improvements being made in genome editing, bringing it closer and closer to the clinic.”

    Scientific advances in genetic engineering are taking place at an incredible pace.

    And the same technologies work on plants, animals and micro-organisms too, posing questions for areas like agriculture.



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