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Life Tech Sublicenses TALENS Technology to ToolGen, CDI

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Life Technologies today announced the launch of a sublicensing program for technology covering nucleic acids encoding Transcription Activator-Like Effector Nuclease fusion proteins, or TALENS, one month after a patent for the technology was issued.

US Patent No. 8,420,782 B2, entitled "Modular DNA-Binding Domains and Methods of Use" was issued on April 16 and covers all applications of TAL effectors in fields excluding commercial use in plants. The Two Blades Foundation has exclusive rights to the technology in commercial applications in plants and licenses it exclusively to Life Tech for the development of TAL effector-based research tools.

Life Tech's first sublicensees for the technology are ToolGen and Cellular Dynamics International. ToolGen is using the technology to generate transgenic animal models and cell lines, while CDI is applying TAL effectors "to introduce or correct disease-associated mutations in induced pluripotent stem cell lines," Life Tech said.

It said TALENS technology has broad use in the drug development, synthetic biology, and plant science markets and is being investigated for uses in human gene therapy.

Life Tech markets TALENS under the brand name GeneArt Precision TAL Technology.

TAL effectors bind to specific DNA sequences more precisely than zinc finger binding proteins, the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company said, adding the technology "can be used to deliver a variety of functional elements to activate or repress gene expression or cut and insert DNA."

"The GeneArt Precision TAL technology is being employed in numerous commercial R&D applications, including identification of new pharmaceutical compounds, disease modeling, and bioproduction technology," Nathan Wood, general manager and vice president of synthetic biology at Life Tech, said in a statement. "Their ability to bind to DNA with unprecedented precision and reliability makes TAL effectors invaluable to researchers looking to edit genomes and control gene activity."