Charles River Expands CRISPR Offerings with Second License

Company can now support customers with CRISPR/Cas9 technology from the Broad Institute and ERS Genomics.

Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR-associated (Cas) genes are found in certain bacteria and other organisms and enable these organisms to acquire resistance to invading genetic material through incorporation of genome fragments of the infectious agents. Cas9 is a protein shown to play an important role in different CRISPR mechanisms. The CRISPR system has been employed for gene editing because it is relatively simple and easy to manipulate

At present, two groups are disputing who first invented CRISPR-Cas9 as a gene-editing tool: the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkely), the University of Vienna and the Max-Planck Institute in Berlin versus the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

In February 2017, the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) determined that there was “no interference in fact” between 12 patents filed by Feng Zhang, Ph.D., of the Broad Institute and a patent application by Emmanuelle Charpentier, Ph.D., a director at the Max-Planck Institute in Berlin and Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D., of UC Berkeley and thus sided with the Broad. Charpentier et al appealed the decision. They were awarded a European patent in March. ERS Genomics has licensed the technology covered by the European patent.

Recently, Charles River Laboratories announced that is has signed a non-exclusive license for the Charpentier/Douda CRISPR-Cas9 technology with ERS Genomics (the 12th to do so). The company already holds a license for the technology from the Broad Institute.

The company uses CRISPR technology for drug target screening, alone or in combination with RNA interference (RNAi) screening using a short hairpin RNA (shRNA) library (SilenceSelect®) to create complex custom knock-in and knock-out cell lines. In addition to target discovery and validation, the service supports hit-to-lead and lead-to-candidate drug discovery efforts.

“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,” stated Iva Morse, Ph.D., Corporate VP, CSO, Global Research Models and Services at Charles River Labs. “With the addition of the license from ERS, we are able to offer our clients access to a comprehensive portfolio of in vitro and in vivo of CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing techniques,”

In a separate statement, Dr. Morse said that now that the company has licensed both technologies, Charles River clients 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.”


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