Burlington, Massachusetts, February 20, 2018 — MilliporeSigma, a leader in genome editing, today announced that the Korean Intellectual Property Office and the Israel Patent Office have each issued notices granting MilliporeSigma’s patent applications for the company’s CRISPR technology used in a genomic-integration method for eukaryotic cells.
"These decisions mark the fifth and sixth patent allowances for our unique CRISPR technology to find new treatments for some of the toughest medical conditions faced today, including cancer, hereditary and rare diseases,” said Udit Batra, CEO, MilliporeSigma. “These foundational integration patents recognize our significant contributions to the genome-editing field and reinforce our commitment to evolving CRISPR technology globally.”
MilliporeSigma also has patent filings for its insertion CRISPR method in the U.S., Brazil, China, India and Japan. In December 2017, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore awarded MilliporeSigma a patent for this technology. Earlier, in June 2017, MilliporeSigma was awarded a similar patent by the Australian patent office. The company has also received related patent awards by the European and Canadian patent offices.
MilliporeSigma is licensing these patents for applications including basic science research, agricultural biotech and therapeutic use.
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, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has established a Bioethics Advisory Panel to provide guidance for research in which its businesses are involved, including research on or using genome editing.
These forthcoming, fundamental patents in South Korea and Israel cover 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, the method can be used to insert transgenes that label endogenous proteins for visual tracking within cells.
CRISPR genome-editing technology, which allows the precise modification of chromosomes in living cells, is advancing treatment options for a variety of medical conditions. 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.
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.