DowDuPont Leads Global CRISPR Patent Landscape; Broad Institute Owns Critical Eukaryotic Gene Editing Patents

February 13, 2018

iRunway, a technology research firm specializing in patent licensing and litigation, has released a global patent landscape report on CRISPR. This report analyzes 4,336 IP assets in CRISPR filed over the last 20 years across the globe, identifying leading patent holders and focus areas of development.

CRISPR is a RNA-guided genome editing technology applied to engineer genetic material of living organisms with high accuracy and precision, providing avenues to treat several diseases such as cancer. It has also triggered a revolution with researchers applying it for innovations in biology, agriculture, medicine and digital data storage.

CRISPR-Cas9 applications in plants and fungi are expected to change the pace and course of agricultural research. Future research will include engineering or identifying smaller viable Cas9 variants with distinct specificity that may be more manageable to deliver in human cells. After China’s foray into CRISPR Cas9 human trials in 2016, the first human trial of CRISPR is expected to be implemented in the U.S. this year. The market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 14.5% owing to enhanced government funding, medical demands, increase production of genetically modified crops and growing application areas of genomics. Besides, nine of the 12 clinical trials scheduled in the U.S. are sponsored by Chinese universities.

iRunway’s research found a growing global R&D focus in gRNA for improved targeting of genetic sequences. It also identified strong competition between Asia and North America in patent filing pace, with each of the two geographies holding 29% of the global patent landscape. An analysis of the geographical distribution of these IP assets found 940 PCT applications registered with WIPO, followed by the U.S. with 877 IP assets and China with 602 IP assets. 

iRunway’s study also found DowDuPont leading the CRISPR global patent landscape with 514 IP assets. Harvard University stood second with 343 IP assets, of which it filed 231 patents independently and 112 patents filed in collaboration with Broad Institute. Broad Institute has been the center of the much discussed legal dispute with University of California over patent eligibility of eukaryotic gene editing using CRISPR. Notably, majority of its patents are co-assigned to Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. Interestingly, the technology areas of focus of all the leading assignees are diverse. While DowDuPont has focused its research in discovering bacterial sources for CRISPR array, a large share of Broad Institute’s R&D is regarding engineered guide RNA and delivery vectors.

to read the report.

About iRunway

iRunway helps corporations, law firms and universities unlock and protect the value of patents by combining technology expertise with practical business insights to monetize patent portfolios and improve licensing and litigation outcomes. iRunway also provides imaging, teardown, circuit extraction, semiconductor construction analysis, testing and other reverse engineering lab capabilities, intended to aid its clients in obtaining compelling evidence with lower cost of evidence.

iRunway has offices in Austin, Dallas, San Jose, Denver and Bangalore (India). For more information about the company’s reverse engineering solutions, consulting model and in-depth analysis, visit

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