Thursday, March 10, 2016

Those fighting over Editas are in it for the long haul

When I first started following the promising CRISPR/Cas9 technology after the chance that shRNA/RNAi technology becoming biotech's Holy Grail seemed to fizzle, I thought that having two or more research groups reporting CRISPR technology wasn't surprising; it was just another example of the well known multiple discovery effect operating in science.

However, the CRISPR story sounds much more like a tale of politics and competition (money necessarily follows) instead of that of independent people fighting over first rights to the same bright idea.

Via TechCrunch:
Two of Editas founders, UC Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna and the Broad Institute’s (BI) Feng Zheng, are credited with pioneering CRISPR/Cas9, a gene-editing technology that has radically advanced the biotech industry. Editas uses this technology to develop therapies to treat humans at a genetic level.

Those with a genetically induced cancer would be able to receive treatment to snip out parts of the faulty gene sequencing using this technology, for example.

Though Doudna is listed as one of the founders of the company, she left Editas two years ago to create the competing Caribou Biosciences in Berkeley, California. However, BI filed for the CRISPR patents for Zheng and was originally awarded the rights to them.
It'll be interesting to see how this unravels.