Billerica, Massachusetts, August 3, 2017 — MilliporeSigma today announced that the European Patent Office (EPO) has issued a “Notice of Intention to Grant” for MilliporeSigma’s patent application covering the company’s CRISPR technology used in a genomic integration method for eukaryotic cells.
The patent will provide MilliporeSigma’s CRISPR genomic integration technology with broad protection, further strengthening the company’s patent portfolio. A related patent was approved in Australia in June 2017. MilliporeSigma anticipates favorable outcomes in other countries as well, because many patent offices worldwide consider the status of related European cases to be highly relevant to the decision to grant patents.
“This is a significant and exciting decision by the EPO, and we view this announcement as recognition of MilliporeSigma’s important contributions to the genome-editing field,” said Udit Batra, CEO, MilliporeSigma. “This patent provides protection for our CRISPR technology, which will give scientists the ability to advance treatment options for the toughest medical challenges we face today.”
With MilliporeSigma’s CRISPR genomic integration technology, scientists can replace a disease-associated mutation with a beneficial or functional sequence—a method important for creation of disease models and gene therapy. Scientists can also use the method to insert transgenes to enable basic research, using the technology to label endogenous proteins for visual tracking within cells, for example.
This patent application is one of MilliporeSigma’s multiple CRISPR patent filings since 2012. In May 2017, MilliporeSigma introduced an alternative CRISPR genome-editing method called proxy-CRISPR. Unlike other systems, the proxy-CRISPR technique allows cutting of previously unreachable cell locations, making CRISPR more efficient, flexible and specific—giving researchers more experimental options.
MilliporeSigma, with its 14-year history in the genome-editing field, was the first company to offer custom biomolecules globally for genome editing (TargeTron™ RNA-guided group II introns and CompoZr™ zinc finger nucleases), driving widespread adoption by researchers. In collaboration with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, MilliporeSigma was also the first company to manufacture arrayed CRISPR libraries covering the entire human genome, allowing researchers to explore more questions about disease and develop cures faster. Availability of arrayed CRISPR libraries is an important advancement in genome editing and reinforces the company’s leadership position.
The company also supports development of gene- and cell-based therapeutics and manufactures viral vectors, in addition to conducting basic genome-editing research. In 2016, MilliporeSigma launched an initiative to advance research in novel treatment modalities, from genome editing to gene medicine manufacturing, through a dedicated team and enhanced resources. This venture further solidifies the company’s commitment to the genome-editing field.
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 20,000 employees and 60 manufacturing sites worldwide, with a portfolio of more than 300,000 products enabling scientific discovery. 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 is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in healthcare, life science and performance materials. The company has five businesses – Biopharmaceuticals, Consumer Health, Allergopharma, Life Science and Performance Materials – and generated sales of €15.3 billion in 2017. Almost 53,000 employees work in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to foster the success of customers and to help meet global challenges.
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company – since 1668, the company has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70 percent interest, the founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day. The company holds the global rights to the name and the trademark “Merck” internationally except for the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.