The University of California, Berkeley issued the following statement on May 28, 2019:

University of California awarded CRISPR-Cas9-related patent for techniques that regulate gene expression

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a new patent to University of California (UC), University of Vienna, and Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier covering methods of modulating DNA transcription using the CRISPR-Cas9 system. U.S. Patent No. 10,301,651 covers techniques that enable sequence-specific repression or activation of gene expression in all types of cells, including both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. These unique methods form a toolset for controlling gene expression, effectively enabling genes to be “turned up or down.”

“Today’s patent further builds on the numerous CRISPR-Cas9 techniques covered by UC’s patents and the university is committed to ensuring the technology is used to benefit society,” said Eldora L. Ellison, Ph.D., lead patent strategist on CRISPR-Cas9 matters for UC and a Director at Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox. “We anticipate that UC’s robust portfolio of intellectual property surrounding its CRISPR-Cas9 inventions will continue to expand.”

Today’s patent is the fifth in UC’s swiftly growing CRISPR-Cas9 patent portfolio. Five additional applications have received notices of allowance and are expected to issue as patents in the coming months. The CRISPR-Cas9 DNA-targeting technology was invented by Jennifer Doudna and Martin Jinek at the University of California (UC), Berkeley; Emmanuelle Charpentier (then of Umea University); and Krzystof Chylinski at the University of Vienna. The methods claimed in this patent were included among the CRISPR-Cas9 technology disclosed first by the Doudna-Charpentier team in its May 25, 2012 priority patent application.

The international scientific community has widely acknowledged the pioneering nature of the Doudna-Charpentier invention of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology and its applications through numerous awards, including the Breakthrough Prize in Life Science, Japan Prize, Gruber Prize in Genetics, BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award, and Kavli Prize in Nanoscience.

Together, this U.S. patent, as well as previously issued U.S. Patent Nos. 10,266,850, 10,227,611, 10,000,772 and 10,113,167, cover CRISPR-Cas9 compositions and methods useful to target and edit genes, and to modulate expression of genes, in any setting, including within plant, animal, and human cells.

In addition to these U.S. patents, the work of the Doudna-Charpentier team has resulted in patents for the use of CRISPR-Cas9 for gene editing in all types of cells being issued by the European Patent Office (representing more than 30 countries), as well as patent offices in the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and other countries.

The University of California has a long-standing commitment to develop and apply its patented technologies, including CRISPR-Cas9, for the betterment of humankind. Consistent with its open-licensing policies, UC allows nonprofit institutions, including academic institutions, to use the technology for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes.

UC has also encouraged widespread commercialization of the CRISPR-Cas9 technology through its exclusive license with Caribou Biosciences, Inc. of Berkeley, California, which has sublicensed the technology to many companies internationally, including Intellia Therapeutics, Inc. for certain human therapeutic applications. Additionally, Dr. Charpentier has licensed the technology to CRISPR Therapeutics AG and ERS Genomics Limited.

Copyright © 2019 UC Regents; all rights reserved