The Korean Intellectual Property Office and the Israel Patent Office have each issued notices granting Merck’s patent applications for the company’s CRISPR technology used in a genomic-integration method for eukaryotic cells. The decisions mark the fifth and sixth patent allowances for Merck’s CRISPR technology following Singapore, Australia, the European Union, and Canada. Merck also has patent filings for its insertion CRISPR method in the United States, Brazil, China, India, and Japan.
The forthcoming 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.
Merck is licensing these patents for applications including basic science research, agricultural biotech, and therapeutic use.
- Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany