Merck has announced its life science business segment has signed an agreement licensing its patented CRISPR-Cas9 technology to Cellecta, a functional genomics products and services provider based in California, USA.
“We are committed to advancing research and drug discovery through the development of powerful, unique technologies,” said Angela Myers, Head of Gene Editing & Novel Modalities, Life Science, at Merck. “This licensing agreement is of paramount importance for researchers and scientists. Our CRISPR-based foundational integration technology is essential for many genome-editing applications and is used to identify future treatments in myriads of cellular and genetic diseases.”
Cellecta provides RNAi and CRISPR technologies for the discovery and characterisation of novel therapeutic targets and genetic profiling for drug and biomarker discovery and validation. The company plans to use the foundational patent to offer CRISPR-mediated targeted “knock-in,” a critical method designed to give scientists more efficient options for projects in therapeutic and disease research.
“Merck’s technology enables us to provide a more comprehensive range of options for cell modification to our customers,” said Paul Diehl, COO of Cellecta. “More specifically, access to this technology allows us to conduct integrated knock-in which is a key component of our customer’s drug testing.”
Merck’s Life Science business holds 40 CRISPR-related patents worldwide in methods and composition, including the CRISPR-Cas9 foundational technology for genetic integration in mammalian cells.
The company says it recognises the growing potential of genome-editing technologies has led to scientific, legal, and societal concerns and therefore supports research with genome editing under careful consideration of ethical and legal standards. It has established an independent, external bioethics advisory panel to provide guidance for research in which its businesses are involved.