Aug 7, 2018J.R. Simplot secures license for CRISPR gene editing tools
The J.R. Simplot Company has executed a joint intellectual property licensing agreement with Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture division of DowDuPont and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard for foundational CRISPR-Cas9 and related gene editing tools. The technology, Simplot said, provides it with another avenue to bring desirable traits forward in certain fruits and vegetables and advance products to the market in the United States to benefit both farmers and consumers.
Comprehensive intellectual property rights allow entities to apply scientific tools as widely as possible. To enable such access, Corteva Agriscience and Broad Institute have agreed on a joint non-exclusive licensing framework for agricultural use. The license to Simplot represents the first time that Corteva Agriscience and Broad Institute have jointly provided a license of CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing tools to an agricultural company.
“We applaud Simplot for taking the initiative to broaden their portfolio of food technologies to further enhance sustainability and reduce food waste,” said Neal Gutterson, chief technology officer at Corteva Agriscience.
Using different genetic techniques, the company previously commercialized two generations of its Innate-branded line of potato varieties by adapting genes only from wild and cultivated potatoes. The potatoes feature reduced bruising and black spots, reduced natural asparagine and protection from late blight pathogens.
“Our goal is to maximize the scientific impact of CRISPR-Cas9 for improving agriculture, and our joint licensing agreement offers the opportunity to provide much broader access to help researchers reduce food waste, limit pesticides and improve drought resistance, while promoting safe and ethical uses of groundbreaking technologies,” said Issi Rozen, chief business officer of the Broad Institute.
USDA recently issued a statement providing clarification on plants produced through innovative new breeding techniques, which include CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing techniques. Under its biotechnology regulations, USDA does not regulate or have any plans to regulate plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques as long as they are not plant pests or developed using plant pests.
These rules differ from those in Europe. Recently, the European Court of Justice ruled that crops created using gene editing techniques will be considered as genetically modified organisms under their regulations.
The rule left some questions and left open the door for techniques that have a long history of safety to be exempted.