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.
The approvals bring Merck KGaA’s number of CRISPR-related patents to 22 worldwide.
In an announcement shared yesterday, November 26, Merck KGaA said the patents cover a foundational CRISPR strategy in which “two CRISPR nickases are targeted to a common gene target and work together by nicking or cleaving opposite strands of a chromosomal sequence to create a double-stranded break”.
According to the company, the requirement of two CRISPR binding events greatly reduces the chances of off-target cutting at other locations in the genome.
Udit Batra, CEO of MilliporeSigma and member of the Merck KGaA executive board, said: “Merck KGaA’s technology improves CRISPR’s ability to fix diseased genes while not affecting healthy ones, therefore improving the accuracy of potential gene therapy treatments.”
In addition to Japan and Singapore, Merck KGaA has CRISPR-related patents in Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Israel, South Korea and the US.
Merck KGaA was awarded its first foundational patent in Australia covering CRISPR integration in 2017, and its first US CRISPR patent for proxy-CRISPR in 2019.
In April 2018, China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) granted Merck KGaA a patent covering its CRISPR technology used in a genomic-integration method for eukaryotic cells.
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.
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Merck KGaA, CRISPR, MilliporeSigma, patent, gene-editing, genetics, Udit Batra, genome