Intellia Therapeutics recently announced that the European Patent Office (EPO) has decided to grant a patent broadly covering the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology. The patent includes claims covering compositions of the widely adopted CRISPR single guide RNA technology for use in any non-cellular and cellular setting, including eukaryotic cells such as human or mammalian cells, as well as for use in human therapeutics.
According to the EPO, the patent will formally grant on May 10, 2017. The EPO’s decision to grant this patent follows its March 24, 2017, notice of intent to issue the patent, which was not challenged by any third party. This European patent will be nationalized in, and cover, approximately forty European countries, including Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and the Netherlands. As provided by relevant European legislation, third parties will have nine months from the issue date to oppose the patent in the EPO.
In addition to the EPO decision, earlier this year, the United Kingdom’s Intellectual Property Office granted national UK patents on the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system. The UK patents cover the single guide RNA for uses in both non-cellular and cellular settings, as well as chimeric CRISPR/Cas9 systems in which the Cas9 protein is modified to provide alternative DNA-modulating activities. The underlying international patent application is based on a US application, which was filed on May 25, 2012, by the University of California on its own behalf and on behalf of the University of Vienna and Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier. In the US, the corresponding application has been involved in an interference proceeding with the Broad Institute, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which was terminated without a decision on which sets of inventors were the first to discover the application of the CRISPR/Cas9 technology to eukaryotic cells.
“We are extremely pleased with this EPO outcome as it recognizes Jennifer Doudna, Emmanuelle Charpentier and their team as CRISPR/Cas9 pioneers, and also acknowledges the breadth of their original patent application,” said Intellia Therapeutics CEO and Founder, Nessan Bermingham, PhD. “Intellia continues to build on the compelling preclinical data we have generated and to focus on the development of our pipeline of novel human therapeutics that will potentially transform the lives of patients with genetic diseases.”
Intellia has rights to this intellectual property estate, including the European and UK patents, for human therapeutic, prophylactic, and palliative uses (including companion diagnostics), excluding anti-fungal and anti-microbial applications. Intellia obtained these rights through a 2014 license agreement with Caribou Biosciences, Inc., which is the exclusive licensee of the University of California and University of Vienna, two of the co-owners of the intellectual property.
Intellia Therapeutics is a leading genome editing company, focused on the development of proprietary, potentially curative therapeutics using the CRISPR/Cas9 system. Intellia believes the CRISPR/Cas9 technology has the potential to transform medicine by permanently editing disease-associated genes in the human body with a single treatment course. Intellia’s combination of deep scientific, technical, and clinical development experience, along with its leading intellectual property portfolio, puts it in a unique position to unlock broad therapeutic applications of the CRISPR/Cas9 technology and create a new class of therapeutic products. For more information, visit www.intelliatx.com.