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US Patent Office Invalidates Two Agilent Technologies Patents Covering CRISPR Guide RNAs

This story has been updated to include a statement from Agilent Technologies.

NEW YORK – The Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the US Patent and Trademark Office has invalidated two patents held by Agilent Technologies covering the chemical modification of CRISPR guide RNAs and their use in gene editing, Synthego announced on Wednesday.

In final written decisions issued Wednesday as part of inter partes review proceedings, the PTAB said US Patent Nos. 10,337,001 and 10,900,034 each contained unpatentable claims.

Synthego, an Agilent competitor in the gene editing market, had initiated the IPR in January 2022 as part of a plan to ward off patent infringement allegations. Synthego also preemptively sued Agilent in federal court in October 2021, seeking a judgment of non-infringement, allegedly after Agilent tried to license the IP to Synthego. As part of a countersuit, Agilent sought a preliminary injunction against Synthego.

"This decision by the PTAB is a major victory for the entire CRISPR-enabled research and therapeutics field," Synthego CEO Paul Dabrowski said in a statement. "The ruling confirms that the invalidated Agilent patents attempted to claim well-known modifications to guide RNAs already taught by prior art. It is a win for researchers and, ultimately, for patients."

"Agilent is confident in the innovative contributions made by its scientists and intends to appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit," the firm said in a statement issued Thursday night. "This patent family also remains open with ongoing prosecution of new claims."