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Precision BioSciences Says USPTO to Re-examine Cellectis Patents

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Precision BioSciences today said that the US Patent and Trademark Office is reexamining two patents that have been licensed to Cellectis and that are part of ongoing litigation between the two firms.

The patents — US Nos. 7,214,536 and 6,833,252 — are owned by the Institut Pasteur and the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie and have been licensed to Cellectis. They are among 13 issued US patents that Cellectis is asserting against Precision BioSciences.

In March 2008, Cellectis filed suit against Research Triangle Park, NC-based Precision BioSciences alleging infringement of the '605 and '545 patents. The patents describe methods of using Group I intron encoded endonucleases to produce a site-directed double-stranded break in DNA for promotion of genetic recombination in organisms.

Precision BioSciences noted that in May 2009, the USPTO granted its requests and issued initial rejections of claims in two other patents held by Cellectis that are similar to the '536 and '252 patent claims.

"The enzymes which are the basis of Precision's Directed Nuclease Editor technology are genetically-engineered endonucleases with altered specificities," the firm said in a statement. "The recognition sites of these rationally-designed enzymes do not include the intron insertion site of a naturally-occurring Group I intron encoded endonuclease."

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