CRISPR patents by numbers

CRISPR patent landscape IPStudies
Number of applications for new patent families filed worldwide. Data from 2018 and 2019 are incomplete. Due to a lag in the publication of US filings, most of the applications included in the tally are in China. [Credit IPStudies/The Scientist]

According to IPStudies, over 12,000 CRISPR patent applications have been filed worldwide, falling into about 4,600 patent familiesThe number of issued patents is still impressive, more than 740 to date. More than half have been awarded in just two countries. Can you guess where?

China and the US, of course. Players dominating the patent landscape are the University of California and the Broad Institute – where CRISPR was respectively invented and adapted for genome editing in eukaryotes – the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the US company DuPont and the Massachusetts-based biotech firm Editas Medicine.

The struggle between UC and Broad over the standard Cas9 system is still on and is pushing the development of alternatives. CRISPR enzymes now come in approximately 50 different types, including Cpf1, C2c2,  and CasY.

The partial score at the US and the EU patent offices is 34 patents granted to the Boston team and 10 to Berkeley. To learn more, read The Scientist.

Picture of the week

bimaternal pups

Healthy adult bimaternal mouse (born to two mothers) with offspring of her own.
Credit: Leyun Wang

Single-gender worlds will remain a sci-fi fantasy. Gay and lesbian couples won’t become parents this way for the foreseeable future. This kind of manipulation is just too risky for humans. But unisexually reproducing mice are an impressive accomplishment, and CRISPR stands out again as a powerful research tool, opening up brand new possibilities for the study of genomic imprinting. For further details, please see the STAT News article about the Cell Stem Cell paper by Zhi-Kun Li.

China vs USA: who leads the CRISPR race?

China vs US

The first human CRISPR trial approved in the United States is finally recruiting the first patient. In the meantime trials have grown to a dozen in China, considering those revealed by the Wall Street Journal inquiry besides the NIH database (check also this npr article for further details). Over 80 Chinese patients are already receiving a CRISPR-based treatment, while US researchers cautiously plan to test the safety of their experimental therapy on a single subject, and, if everything goes right, two more patients will be treated a month later. Is the West losing its genome-editing edge to Beijing? Continue reading