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14 February 2018Americas

Cellectis to license recently-granted CRISPR patents

French cell therapy company Cellectis has announced plans to make two CRISPR patents, which were recently granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office, available for licensing.

Cellectis, which focuses on developing immunotherapies based on gene-edited allogeneic chimeric antigen receptors (CAR), announced the grant of the two patents yesterday, February 13.

CARs are proteins which can prompt T cells to recognise and target tumour cells in cancer patients.

US patent number 9,855,297 came into force on January 2, and 9,890,393 on February 13. Both patents centre on the use of CRISPR technology in T cells and “claim methods by which T cells are gene edited using transient expression of CRISPR/Cas9 components”, according to the release.

Last year, Cellectis was granted European patent number EP3004337 by the European Patent Office (EPO) for a similar invention.

“The technical knowledge in these patents could, for example, help users engineer allogeneic CAR T-cells while suppressing genes involved in checkpoint inhibitions,” according to the release.

André Choulika, chairman and CEO of Cellectis, said: “We have been the first to explore the potential of CRISPR in its early days in various applications, including therapeutics and plants. These early findings ultimately led to the grant of this set of new patents.”

In January, The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT had one of its patents covering CRISPR/Cas9 technology revoked by the EPO, a decision the institute intends to appeal.

The institute also entered into talks to create a non-exclusive worldwide licensing pool for its CRISPR patents in July last year, allowing scientists and businesses to license the technology.

Agricultural company DuPont Pioneer signed a patent licensing deal with the Broad in October 2017, to provide CRISPR/Cas9 technology to agricultural researchers and producers.

Hospitals are also benefiting from CRISPR technology—the cancer centre at Massachusetts General Hospital has partnered with gene-editing company CRISPR Technologies to develop T cell therapies for treating cancer.

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