Darmstadt, Germany, December 19, 2019 — Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced that it has signed a license agreement providing Promega Corp., a global life science manufacturer based in Madison, Wisconsin, USA access to Merck’s foundational CRISPR intellectual property. Promega will use Merck’s CRISPR genome-editing technology to create research products and services, including those for drug development.
“Under this licensing agreement, Promega plans to use our intellectual property to develop CRISPR-edited cell lines, which can play a major role in determining drug efficacy, toxicity and overall development,” said Udit Batra, member of the Merck Executive Board and CEO, Life Science.
The agreement will allow researchers to better read the physiological or natural levels of protein expression, which provides a more accurate understanding of protein behavior.
“This license further expands the potential of CRISPR, and, more importantly, gives scientists a new view into natural cell activity,” said Bill Linton, president and CEO, Promega. “This is quite a meaningful contribution to many areas of applied research in such fields as cancer and neuroscience.”
Promega is building a portfolio of CRISPR knock-in cell lines in addition to custom requests to meet the demands of customers studying protein dynamics.
Merck intends to continue growing its CRISPR intellectual property portfolio with technologies such as paired Cas9 nickases, which reduce off-target effects, and proxy-CRISPR, which offers researchers more experimental options to accelerate drug development and access to new therapies.
Merck holds 22 CRISPR-related patents worldwide covering both methods and compositions, including the fundamental use of CRISPR-Cas9 for genetic integration in mammalian cells.
As a user and supplier of genome-editing technology, Merck supports research with genome editing under careful consideration of ethical and legal standards. The company established an independent, external Bioethics Advisory Panel to provide guidance for research in which its businesses are involved, including research on or using genome editing. Merck has also defined a clear operational position considering scientific and societal issues to inform promising therapeutic approaches for use in research and applications.
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Promega Corporation is a leader in providing innovative solutions and technical support to the life sciences industry. The company’s 4,000 products enable scientists worldwide to advance their knowledge in genomics, proteomics, cellular analysis, drug discovery and human identification. Founding in 1978, the company is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, with branches in 16 countries and more than 50 global distributors. For more information about Promega, visit www.promega.com
Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 57,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2019, Merck generated sales of €16.2 billion in 66 countries.
Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science and EMD Performance Materials.