Hand inserts a molecule into DNA.
Hand inserts a molecule into DNA concept design.

Charles River Laboratories has announced it has arranged a nonexclusive license to ERS Genomics' CRISPR/Cas9 technology, even as a legal battles over rights to the gene-editing technology continue to move through patent governing bodies.

Charles River has licensed from ERS Genomics nonexclusive access to ERS’s CRISPR/Cas9 patents, which are based on the technology that, in turn, ERS has licensed from holders of a European patent granted in March—namely the Regents of the University of California (UC), the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier, Ph.D., a director at the Max-Planck Institute in Berlin.

The European patent holders are appealing a February 15 decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which sided with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in the bitter legal battle over who invented the gene-editing platform. The PTAB found “no interference in fact” between 12 patents related to CRISPR technology that list as inventor Feng Zhang, Ph.D., of the Broad and a patent application by Dr. Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D., of UC Berkeley.

“Our primary goal is to provide our clients with the most robust, end-to-end service offering possible for genome editing. We feel that holding CRISPR/Cas9 licenses with both the Broad and ERS allow us to accomplish that goal,” Iva Morse, Ph.D., Corporate VP, CSO, global research models and services at Charles River Labs, told GEN. “With the addition of the license from ERS, we are able to offer our clients access to a comprehensive portfolio in vitro and in vivo of CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing techniques,”

In a Charles River statement, Dr. Morse said Charles River clients as a result can work with one company to develop in vitro models and cell lines and later place them into in vivo studies: “This end-to-end service increases the efficiency and effectiveness of our clients’ research process.”

Charles River also offers CRISPR/Cas9 that is used under licenses to granted and pending U.S. and international patents from the Broad. Charles River said its biologists use CRISPR for target screening alone or alongside RNA interference (RNAi) screening with the company’s short hairpin RNA (shRNA) library (SilenceSelect®) to create complex custom knockin and knockout cell lines with drug discovery applications that include target discovery and validation, hit discovery, hit-to-lead, and lead-to-candidate.

In addition, Charles River said, it has existing partnerships globally for in vivo model creation, including:

  • In North America with Mirimus, a leader in RNAi technology specializing in the creation of customized genetically engineered mouse models. (North America only);
  • In Japan with Laboratory Animal Resource Center, University of Tsukuba, one of Japan’s largest production institutes for genetically modified mice. (Japan only);
  • In Europe with Phenomin-ICS, a leader in mouse and rat creation and phenotyping. (Europe only).

Charles River is the 12th company to ink a licensing agreement with ERS for the UC Berkeley/Charpentier/University of Vienna CRISPR/Cas9 technology.

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