Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany Announces a CRISPR/Cas9 Strategic Alliance to Develop Rodent Models with genOway

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company and leader in genome editing, announced that its life science business formed a strategic alliance in the CRISPR/Cas9 rodent model ...

10 Dec 2018 | Darmstadt, Germany
  • genOway to acquire exclusive rights to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, foundational genome-editing patents to produce, sell rodent models
  • New technologies and solutions to be developed using CRISPR/Cas9 to accelerate delivery of better drugs to patients

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company and leader in genome editing, announced that its life science business formed a strategic alliance in the CRISPR/Cas9 rodent model market with France-based biotechnology company genOway.

“We are committed to making our patented CRISPR technology broadly available to do the most good for the most people,” said Udit Batra, member of the Executive Board and CEO, Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. “Together with genOway, we’re going to get the best research models out to the pharmaceutical and biotech industries as well as academic laboratories quickly, so we can help accelerate their research, shorten drug development timelines and treat previously untreatable diseases in quicker and more targeted ways. We will continue to play an active role, responsibly and ethically, in ensuring that scientists have access to the latest CRISPR technologies.”

Through an exclusive worldwide license of foundational CRISPR integration patents from the life science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, genOway will develop new models and solutions allowing non-profit and for-profit scientists to use CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Under the agreement, genOway will also develop a network of sublicensees in both the model creation and distribution businesses and preclinical services for all potential applications worldwide, with a strong focus in the United States, Asia and Europe. Financial details were not disclosed.

Both companies have identified research fields where they can combine their respective technologies and expertise to develop and validate new CRISPR/Cas9-related products and solutions. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany’s patented CRISPR integration technology is a strong entry point through which innovation can be developed and launched.

At Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, excellence and expertise in animal care, use and welfare are of the highest priority. In line with its mission to develop innovative medicines and chemicals based on scientific excellence and the established ethical standards, the company is committed to conducting animal research activities only if no other method or testing is available for obtaining the result or product sought, not entailing the use of a live animal.

“The CRISPR/Cas9 IP landscape has been complex and uncertain over the last years,” said Alexandre Fraichard, CEO of genOway. “The situation has changed and IP portfolio of the life science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is clearly central to CRISPR/Cas9-based eukaryotic genome-editing applications. This alliance, combining research and business, will enable us to provide the scientific community with more physiologically relevant models and the necessary intellectual property rights which will ultimately speed delivering better drugs to patients.”

CRISPR technology is a core competency for Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which has 14 years’ experience with genome editing, spanning from discovery to manufacturing. The company recognizes that genome editing has resulted in major advancements in biological research and medicine.  At the same time, the growing potential of genome-editing technologies has opened scientific, legal and societal concerns. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany supports research with genome editing under careful consideration of ethical and legal standards. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has established an independent, external Bioethics Advisory Panel to provide guidance for research in which its businesses are involved, including research on or using genome editing, and has developed, defined and transparently published a clear operational position taking into account scientific and societal issues to inform promising therapeutic approaches for use in research and applications.

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About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across life science, healthcare and electronics. Around 60,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2021, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, generated sales of € 19.7 billion in 66 countries.

The company holds the global rights to the name and trademark “Merck” internationally. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, operate as MilliporeSigma in life science, EMD Serono in healthcare, and EMD Electronics in electronics. Since its founding in 1668, scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to the company’s technological and scientific advances. To this day, the founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company.

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