The Korean branch of Merck said Monday that it got a patent for the use of paired CRISPR nickases from the Australian Patent Office.
|Merck has won CRISPR nickase patent in Australia|
Paired nickases represent a significant step in increasing safety by improving CRISPR’s ability to fix diseased genes while not affecting healthy ones. Paired CRISPR nickase methods build on other technologies in Merck’s CRISPR patent portfolio, including CRISPR integration.
Firms can use Merck’s intellectual property for CRISPR-based DNA insertion if they are trying to correct genetic defects in the somatic cells of gene therapy patients, the company said.
“We’ve made tremendous strides in recent years evolving CRISPR technology, and this is a pivotal time in scientific research,” said Udit Batra, CEO of Life Science and a member of the Merck Executive Board. “Merck’s paired nickase CRISPR technology is important for researchers who need highly accurate methods when developing treatments for difficult-to-treat diseases. This new patent allowance represents a significant advancement in safety for CRISPR-enabled therapeutics.”
The patent allows Merck to cover a 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. This process optionally includes an exogenous or donor sequence for insertion in the same manner as Merck’s patented CRISPR integration technology.
The Australian Patent Office also granted a 2017 patent for CRISPR integration to Merck following the withdrawal of four independent, anonymously filed oppositions, according to the company.
Merck’s CRISPR integration patent won grants in Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Israel, Singapore and Korea. These CRISPR patents are directed to chromosomal integration or cutting of the sequence of eukaryotic cells and insertion of a synthetic exogenous DNA sequence to make a desired genomic change.
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