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9 April 2020AmericasSarah Morgan

Merck KGaA secures second US CRISPR patent

Millipore Sigma, the US life sciences business of  Merck KGaA, has secured a patent for its CRISPR-chrom technology, bringing its total number of CRISPR-related patents to 23.

The latest patent makes MilliporeSigma the only provider with a patent covering the fusion of chromatin modulating peptides to CRISPR proteins, which helps to clear chromatin out of the way and increase access to the genome, according to a  release from the company.

Genomic DNA in mammalian cells is wrapped tightly in protein complexes called chromatin, meaning that the genomic DNA is often inaccessible to CRISPR.

MilliporeSigma's CRISPR-chrom technology works by fusing chromatin modulating peptides to a CRISPR protein, Cas9 (CRISPR's DNA scissors), allowing for more efficient gene editing.

Udit Batra, CEO of Merck KGaA’s life sciences business, said: “This award marks our second US CRISPR patent and our 23rd CRISPR-related patent worldwide, and as a leading innovator of CRISPR technology, we will continue to drive innovation and collaborate with scientists around the world to ensure they have the most advanced gene-editing options.”

In November last year, Merck KGaA  secured patents covering the use of paired CRISPR nickases in the Japan Patent Office and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore.

Merck KGaA also has CRISPR-related patents in Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Israel, South Korea and the US.

Patents granted in Europe (which are pending elsewhere) cover plasmid or viral vectors encoding CRISPR systems, which are necessary to perform genome modification in eukaryotic cells.

MilliporeSigma received its first US patent in February 2019 for its proxy-CRISPR technology. According to the company, this makes CRISPR more efficient, flexible and specific.

As part of its work in the genome editing space, Germany-based Merck KGaA has  established an independent, external bioethics advisory panel to provide guidance for research in which its businesses are involved, including research on or using genome editing.

The company is also out-licensing its CRISPR patent portfolio and continues to license its entire CRISPR patent portfolio for all fields of use.

In November last year, Merck KGaA  agreed to license its technology to German biotech company Evotec, which said it would use the genome-editing tech to create edited cell lines for its commercial and internal research purposes.

“MilliporeSigma is proactively and aggressively pursuing CRISPR patent out-licensing partners for therapeutics, agriculture and research and welcomes such collaboration opportunities,” said the release.

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27 November 2019   The Japan Patent Office and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore have each granted Merck KGaA a patent covering the use of paired CRISPR nickases.
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Americas
12 May 2020   Merck has added two US patents to its CRISPR-Cas9 patent portfolio, and is already seeking licensing and product development partners, the German company announced yesterday, May 11.
Americas
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Asia
27 November 2019   The Japan Patent Office and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore have each granted Merck KGaA a patent covering the use of paired CRISPR nickases.

More on this story

Americas
12 May 2020   Merck has added two US patents to its CRISPR-Cas9 patent portfolio, and is already seeking licensing and product development partners, the German company announced yesterday, May 11.
Americas
14 April 2020   The US International Trade Commission is investigating ‘grey market’ in vitro fertilisation products intended for the Turkish market, following a trademark complaint from German pharmaceutical company Merck KGaA.
Asia
27 November 2019   The Japan Patent Office and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore have each granted Merck KGaA a patent covering the use of paired CRISPR nickases.