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ERS Genomics Licenses CRISPR Patents to German Startup Vivlion

NEW YORK – ERS Genomics said on Tuesday that it has granted German startup company Vivlion a non-exclusive license to its CRISPR-Cas9 patent portfolio, which Vivlion will use to improve its own gene editing reagents and screening services.

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.

Vivlion, a provider of next-generation CRISPR-Cas guide RNA libraries and screening services for the global R&D market based in Frankfurt, also holds an exclusive license to Goethe University Frankfurt's proprietary 3Cs technology for the production of 3Cs CRISPR gRNA libraries. According to the company's website, 3Cs technology avoids PCR and conventional cloning steps during library generation, resulting in high quality and uniformly distributed libraries. Vivlion said use of its 3Cs reagents leads to better results with less library coverage, reducing the amount of cell culture work that's needed.

"Our proprietary 3Cs technology enables single and dual-combinatorial CRISPR-Cas libraries in any order of diversity. Due to our unique production process, even complex reagents can be produced without compromising on quality," Vivlion CEO Ivan Ðikic said in a statement. "Dual combinations of gRNAs may be arranged in a multiplexed, random format or in predefined, fixed pairs. Whilst multiplex reagents empower gene interaction and synthetic lethality screening, fixed-pair reagents open the field of high-throughput excision genomics in the coding and noncoding genome."

The company also said that the license from ERS will enable it to offer R&D reagents and screening services to its customers worldwide.

ERS Genomics CEO Eric Rhodes noted that Vivlion's technology "significantly expands the use of CRISPR-Cas libraries for target discovery and drug development."

ERS Genomics has signed several licensing deals for its technology this year, including with Daiichi Sankyo in January, Aelian Biotechnology in February, Axxam in April, and Applied StemCell in September. Most recently, the company signed a licensing agreement with Japanese biotech company FASMAC, granting the firm access to its patent portfolio and the right to use the technology to commercialize tools and reagents associated with it.