'One-stop' CRISPR licensing initiative looks to accelerate the technology's benefits

By Melissa Fassbender

- Last updated on GMT


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As the patent war over CRISPR gene editing technology continues, experts suggest a “one-stop” licensing alternative could help accelerate advances in new medicines.

MPEG LA, LLC, an intellectual property rights management company, has announced its initiative to provide a worldwide licensing program for CRISPR.

If there were ever a demand for something other than the exclusive intellectual property licensing model traditionally used in biopharma, CRISPR is it​,” Kristin Neuman, MPEG LA’s Executive Director, Biotechnology Licensing, told us.

However, some CRISPR patents are currently the subject of an interference proceeding (No. 106048) among various patent holders and applicants before the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Several companies have already licensed the technology, including Charles River Laboratories​, AMRI​, and Evotec​. The gene editing technology has also received significant investments from Big Biopharma, such as AstraZeneca​ and Novartis​.

According to the firm, as the volume of patent grants for CRISPR-Cas9 increases, developers of CRISPR-based products and services will be faced with the challenge of identifying and licensing patents in multiple transactions – an expensive and time consuming effort.

Neuman suggests the solution is a transparent one-stop licensing mechanism managed and maintained by an independent entity.

Through the formation of a patent pool, CRISPR patent holders could come together to unleash the full power of their groundbreaking technology for the unprecedented benefit of industry and society at large, while at the same time realizing a significant return on their investments​,” she said.

As part of this effort, the MPEG LA, LLC has developed a patent mapping tool to identify essential patents associated with various CRISPR market applications and product features. 

The company plans on publishing a call for patents once it has identified an appropriate set of conditions around which to begin the process of forming the pool. 

In the interim, it continues to speak with CRISPR patent holders and prospective licensees for their input on the initiative.    

Key stakeholders in the U.S. Patent Interference are aware of our efforts, and we welcome them to participate at any time​,” said Neuman.

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