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ERS Genomics Licenses CRISPR Patents to CRO ZeClinics

NEW YORK – ERS Genomics said on Tuesday that it has granted contract research organization ZeClinics a non-exclusive license to its CRISPR-Cas9 patent portfolio, which ZeClinics will use to create single-knockout, double-knockout, and somatic F0 knockout zebrafish variants for use as disease models.

Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Dublin-based ERS Genomics was founded to provide access to CRISPR-Cas9 intellectual property held by Emmanuelle Charpentier. The IP is shared between her, Jennifer Doudna and the University of California, and the University of Vienna and is separate from genome editing patents held by the Broad Institute.

ZeClinics supports academic, pharmaceutical, and biotech organizations in preclinical studies by providing services based on its zebrafish disease models, in particular services to analyze the safety, efficacy, and biomedical relevance of new compounds.

"The zebrafish model is a powerful tool for answering complex questions. The use of CRISPR tools to modify zebrafish models allows us to streamline functional genomic processes and provide insights into biologically relevant knowledge on diseases," ZeClinics Cofounder and CEO Simone Calzolari said in a statement.

"By providing them access to this foundational CRISPR-Cas9 intellectual property, ZeClinics is able to continue to provide valuable preclinical models and services for drug discovery and development," ERS CEO Eric Rhodes added.

ERS has signed dozens of similar non-exclusive licensing agreements with various companies for its CRISPR patent portfolio. In December, for example, the firm granted a license to German startup company Vivlion, which will use it to improve its own gene editing reagents and screening services.