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5 December 2014Americas

MIT and Harvard sign genome licensing deal

US research centre the Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard has entered into a worldwide licensing deal with Editas Medicines, granting it access to IP covering genome technology and human therapeutic applications.

The agreement relates to technology that covers the CRISPR-Cas9 system—a naturally-occurring part of the bacterial immune system.

According to Broad Institute, it and several partners have optimised the CRISPR-Cas9 system to allow for insertion, replacement, and regulation of targeted genes.

This technology has “wide-ranging therapeutic potential”, the Broad Institute continued, and could lay the groundwork for treating diseases where a gene's expression needs to be altered or where a mutation needs to be repaired.

Eric Lander, president and director of the Broad Institute, said: “The Broad shares the goal of developing innovative technologies such as CRISPR-Cas9 and promoting their translation to benefit patients.

“We’re committed to making these technologies broadly available for research and also ensuring that therapeutic development—bringing this technology to the clinic—has the best chance of success,” he added.

As part of the agreement, genes that are not being pursued by Editas will be made available for licensing to other parties.

Additional technologies relating to engineering and optimisation of transcription activator-like effector proteins that can be programmed to target and modify specific genes are also included in the agreement.

Katrine Bosley, chief executive at Editas, added: “We are committed to broadly developing the science of genome editing, and we seek to fully enable the potential of the technology—through our own work and in collaboration with academic and industry partners.”

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