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CRISPR Patents and Licensing Information

Broad Institute, MIT and Harvard share the goal of developing innovative technologies such as our CRISPR genome editing tools and promoting translation to benefit patients. We are committed to making these technologies broadly available for research to help ensure that therapeutic development — bringing this technology to the clinic — has the best chance of success.

In the United States, the US Patent and Trademark Office has issued 50 patents with claims to CRISPR and/or Cas9, including a robust portfolio of 13 CRISPR patents to the Broad Institute, MIT and affiliated groups for inventions from Zhang and the Zhang lab. The USPTO has also issued ten CRISPR patents to Harvard University relating to inventions of Broad Senior Associate member George Church and the Church lab, and of Broad Institute core member David Liu and the Liu lab; three CRISPR patents to DuPont; one to Agilent Technologies; one to University of Georgia Research Foundation; one to Institut Pasteur; and one to Caribou Biosciences. In addition, the USPTO is considering other applications. The European Patent Office has granted eight of Broad's CRISPR-related patent applications.

Zhang is a core institute member of the Broad Institute, an investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, and the James and Patricia Poitras ’63 Professor in Neuroscience and Associate Professor in Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Biological Engineering at MIT. As such, his CRISPR patents are assigned jointly to Broad Institute and MIT. For convenience they are often referred to as the “Broad patents,” but Broad Institute is acting on behalf of both institutions in managing this IP portfolio.

CRISPR itself cannot be patented. Cas9 is a naturally occurring protein and part of a naturally-occurring bacterial process, but this process, on its own, does not work in mammalian cells. What Broad has patented are engineered components and compositions specifically altered from their naturally-occurring form to be useful in methods for editing the genomes of living mammalian cells.

Our mission: Sharing technology to benefit research

Broad Institute is an academic non-profit research organization. Our faculty develop innovative techniques, create analytical tools, and make groundbreaking discoveries that we share with the global scientific community to benefit human health.

Broad Institute, MIT, and Harvard University partners have made CRISPR technology broadly available to the research community. Broad Institute is working with Addgene, a non-profit plasmid repository, to offer Zhang lab CRISPR plasmids and reagents to accelerate academic research. Addgene has shared more than 37,000 plasmids and reagents with more than 2,000 institutions across 59 countries since February, 2013. In addition we have non-exclusively licensed many industry partners for development of research tools and reagents and will continue to do so. 

To inquire about CRISPR licensing opportunities, please click here.

If you are a journalist inquiring about CRISPR patent and licensing issues, please email communications@broadinstitute.org and visit our CRISPR patent background page.