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Monsanto Licenses CRISPR/Cpf1 From Broad Institute

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Agricultural giant Monsanto has licensed CRISPR/Cpf1 genome editing technology from the Broad Institute.

Under the terms of the agreement, Monsanto gains worldwide, non-exclusive rights to agricultural applications of the CRISPR/Cpf1 system.

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"The CRISPR/Cpf1 system is a powerful new discovery within the field of genome editing, and we're excited to license the system and add it to our growing portfolio of genome-editing tools," Monsanto biotechnology lead Tom Adams said in a statement.

Developed by Broad researcher Feng Zhang, also of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cpf1 is an alternative — perhaps even complementary — CRISPR-based genome editing system. Compared to Cas9, Cpf1 features a smaller nuclease, different cleavage characteristics, shorter guide RNAs, and can recognize a different set of genomic targets.

In a statement, Monsanto said it is exploring genome editing in a phased approach across single-gene knock-outs, single-gene edits, and multiple-gene edits. It has also secured licenses to other genome-editing technologies, including a separate license from the Broad for use of the CRISPR/Cas9 system in ag-bio applications.

While ownership of CRISPR/Cas9 intellectual property is under dispute in the US, ownership of Cpf1 patents is not. It's the second license for genome editing applications of Cpf1. Last month, Editas Medicine licensed it from the Broad for use in human therapeutics.