CRISPR/Cas9 players create an IP alliance as the war with Editas heats up

Rodger Novak, CRISPR

Rodger Novak, CRISPR

Some of the most prominent players in the gene editing field have created an IP-sharing alliance on their CRISPR-Cas9 tech, and Editas $EDIT is conspicuously absent from the club.

The agreement aligns CRISPR Therapeutics, Intellia, Caribou Biosciences and ERS Genomics in what they call a “global cross-consent and invention management agreement” for their IP. And the gene-editing club plans to coordinate their defense of technology emerging from the labs of Emmanuelle Charpentier and Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna.

Editas is already engaged in a patent war over the IP it’s using. Their tech was in-licensed originally from The Broad and Harvard, with additions from Mass General and Duke. Editas has been defending the patent that Feng Zhang — a former colleague of Doudna’s — won for his work.

Now Editas is battling a confederacy of CRISPR players for control of one of the world’s most revolutionary new technologies. And the outcome could have profound implications for a big new field in biotech, which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars from investors eager to cash in on what is still a preclinical field in the US.

“We believe that the Charpentier-University of California-Vienna IP estate constitutes the foundational IP in the CRISPR/Cas9 editing space,” said Rodger Novak, CEO of CRISPR Therapeutics. “Intellia, CRISPR Therapeutics, Caribou, and ERS view this agreement as enhancing the efforts to protect our shared intellectual property rights and support the ongoing development of our product candidates, as well as those of our corresponding partners and licensees.”

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