Canadian Patent Office to Grant MilliporeSigma’s Patent Application for CRISPR Technology

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News Release
October 23, 2017
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Karen Tiano +1 978 495 0093

  • Patent covers successful integration of an external DNA sequence into the chromosome of eukaryotic cells using CRISPR
  • First patent allowance for MilliporeSigma’s CRISPR technology in North America
  • Related patent application awards by European and Australian Patent Offices already received; similar patents pending elsewhere

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 19,000 employees and 65 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 six businesses – Biopharmaceuticals, Consumer Health, Allergopharma, Biosimilars, Life Science and Performance Materials – and generated sales of €15.0 billion in 2016. Around 50,000 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 in the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.