One of the most novel scientific breakthroughs in our lifetime – the CRISPR technique that allows scientists to locate and precisely edit bits of DNA from bacteria, animals and humans ‑ is now in dispute at the U.S. Patent Office. Potentially billions of dollars in royalty revenue from direct and related technology are at stake – technology that could one day wipe out certain human diseases and make food sources more reliable.
The ownership fight is between a biochemist from the University of California, Berkeley named Jennifer Doudna, and a biologist from the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT named Feng Zheng.
Doudna submitted her patent application for the core CRISPR technology in May 2012, while Zheng submitted his similar patent application in December 2012. The controversy comes about because, although Zheng submitted his application seven months after Doudna, he received the official patent in April 2014 after requesting a fast-track process.
Talk about working the system!
Venture capital to the tune of $1 billion has already been generated to fund the initial startups of both Doudna and Zheng, who started Caribou Bioscience and Editas Medicine, respectfully.
Even commercial biotech companies, such as Juno Therapeutics (Nasdaq: JUNO), have a stake in the game with milestone payments of $230 million per successful cancer treatment to Editas Medicine.
The panel that will decide the issue is currently underway and I’m tracking the impact of this case closely via my social media collective intelligence system. In the past we’ve been able to get a jump on the market by discovering emerging trends in social media before they hit mainstream news.
Standby for word on the final decision… because the ripple effect could impact the entire DNA-editing industry!
Editor, BioTech Intel Trader