An Alternative CRISPR-Cas Tool for Genome Editing
The scientists from BRAIN Biotech have isolated a non-Cas9 nuclease for genome editing and developed a novel CRISPR-Cas tool. What does this imply for their own R&D and for customer projects?
Genome editing enables the targeted and precise insertion, deletion or modification in the genome of a living organism. In doing so, the CRISPR-CAS system has provided a genetic tool with speed as well as simplicity that was previously unavailable to science. Unfortunately, patent litigations and high associated costs complicate the use of the technology. Globally granted and pending IP applications cover CRISPR technology, in the majority in the context of the Cas9 or Cpf1 enzymes.
To avoid patent disputes and high costs, the scientists from BRAIN Biotech AG searched for and found an enzyme alternative to Cas9 or Cpf1, a so-called non-Cas9 nuclease. Large-scale metagenome sequencing and targeted protein engineering preceded the development of the novel CRISPR-Cas tool.
The novel CRISPR associated nuclease has been validated internally as well as with partners and it has demonstrated so-called DNA targeting activity in selected bacteria, fungi and yeast. Activity in plants has been achieved but still needs to be validated. Genome editing tests for additional application fields such as mammalian cell lines have been initiated and a first IP application to protect the nuclease sequence is already submitted.
Dr. Michael Krohn, BRAIN Biotech´s R&D head, is pleased: “The market for genome editing tools based on the CRISPR-Cas mechanism is just emerging and offers significant growth opportunities. Our developed CRISPR associated nuclease will give us internal freedom to operate and we are currently exploring the enzyme´s potential beyond microorganisms and plants.” The molecular biologist also emphasizes: “This success is further evidence of our stated mission to create Breakthroughs. It makes me very proud that the innovative spirit of our scientists keeps creating new projects with real breakthrough potential.”
„We CRISPR for you“
What does the development of nuclease mean for BRAIN Biotech or for the company´s customers? “The technology can be used in many of our projects where microorganisms need to be optimized”, explains Adriaan Moelker, CEO BRAIN Biotech AG. “Our developed CRISP associated nuclease will enable us to speed up projects for our customers as well as the internal development of high efficiency producer strains”, he further says.
Creating new technologies is in the heart of BRAIN Biotech´s capabilities. Using them in own and for customer projects is the obvious route to commercialization. But other ways such as licensing models are also conceivable and are currently being evaluated at BRAIN Biotech.
Text and picture source: BRAIN Biotech AG (25 August 2021)