Burlington, Massachusetts, October 23, 2017 — MilliporeSigma today announced that the Canadian Patent Office has issued a “Notice of Allowance” for MilliporeSigma’s patent application covering the company’s CRISPR technology used in a genomic-integration method for eukaryotic cells.
"Our patent portfolio continues to grow worldwide, extending protection for our unique CRISPR technology as we work with the global scientific community to find new treatments for diseases,” said Udit Batra, CEO, MilliporeSigma. “This decision by the Canadian Patent Office is an important acknowledgement of MilliporeSigma’s role in advancing genome editing.”
MilliporeSigma also has patent filings for its insertion CRISPR method in the U.S., Brazil, China, India, Israel, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.
The forthcoming Canadian patent, entitled “CRISPR-BASED GENOME MODIFICATION AND REGULATION,” covers chromosomal integration, or cutting of the chromosomal sequence of eukaryotic cells (such as mammalian and plant cells) and insertion of an external or donor DNA sequence into those cells using CRISPR. Scientists can replace a disease-associated mutation with a beneficial or functional sequence, a method important for creating disease models and gene therapy. Additionally, scientists can use the method to insert transgenes that label endogenous proteins for visual tracking within cells.
Once formally granted, the Canadian patent will extend the protection of MilliporeSigma's CRISPR integration technology into North America for the first time, further strengthening the company's patent portfolio. The Australian Patent Office granted MilliporeSigma its first CRISPR patent in June of 2017, followed by the grant of a European patent in September of 2017.
CRISPR genome-editing technology, which allows the precise modification of chromosomes in living cells, is advancing treatment options for some of the toughest medical conditions faced today. CRISPR applications are far-ranging —from identifying genes associated with cancer and rare diseases to reversing mutations that cause blindness.
With a 12-year history in the genome-editing field, MilliporeSigma was the first company to offer custom biomolecules for genome editing globally (TargeTron™ RNA-guided group II introns and CompoZr™ zinc finger nucleases), driving adoption of these techniques by researchers all over the world. MilliporeSigma was also the first company to manufacture arrayed CRISPR libraries covering the entire human genome, accelerating cures for diseases by allowing scientists to explore more questions about root causes.
In May 2017, MilliporeSigma announced its alternative CRISPR genome-editing method, called proxy-CRISPR. Unlike other systems, MilliporeSigma's proxy-CRISPR technique can cut previously unreachable genomic locations, making CRISPR more efficient, flexible and specific, and giving researchers more experimental options. MilliporeSigma has filed several patent applications on its proxy-CRISPR technology, and those applications are just the latest of multiple CRISPR patent filings made by the company since 2012.
MilliporeSigma recognizes the potential benefits of conducting properly defined research with genome editing because of the breakthrough therapeutic potential. Therefore, MilliporeSigma supports research with genome editing under careful consideration of ethical and legal standards. MilliporeSigma’s parent company has established a Bioethics Advisory Panel to provide guidance for research in which its businesses are involved, including research on or using genome editing.
About the Life Science Business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
The Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which operates as MilliporeSigma in the U.S. and Canada, has some 21,000 employees and 59 manufacturing sites worldwide, with a portfolio of more than 300,000 products focused on scientific discovery, biomanufacturing and testing services. Udit Batra is the global chief executive officer of MilliporeSigma.
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany completed its $17 billion acquisition of Sigma-Aldrich in November 2015, creating a leader in the $125 billion global life science industry.
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 56,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene-editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2018, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, generated sales of €14.8 billion in 66 countries.
The company holds the global rights to the name and trademark “Merck” internationally. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Performance Materials. Since its founding 1668, scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to the company’s technological and scientific advances. To this day, the founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. For more information about Merck, KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, visit www.emdgroup.com.