A strategic alliance has been announced between DuPont and Caribou Biosciences, a leading developer of CRISPR-Cas technologies for genome editing. The two companies will share respective patent portfolios; DuPont will have exclusive intellectual property rights to technology for row crops and non-exclusive right for other ag and bioscience applications.
The partnership will also include a multi-year research agreement with scientists from other organizations. DuPont has made a minority investment to strengthen the working relationship by focusing on enhancing the CRISPR-Cas portfolio.
“DuPont intends to lead in the application of CRISPR-Cas technology to improve agricultural productivity and enhance food security. Our alliance with Caribou is now at the forefront of this emerging science and will speed our development of this important platform to create long-term value for our company and our customers,” said James C. Borel, executive vice president, DuPont. “Specifically, we believe CRISPR-Cas has significant potential to advance plant breeding and expand the range of agricultural solutions available to farmers. We look forward to bringing related products to market in the next five to 10 years.”
CRISPR-Cas technology is capable of making exact changes to the DNA of most organisms. In plants, this editing capability can be applied to promote drought tolerance and disease resistance to protect plant health and increase crop yields. It also can provide direct consumer benefits like the removal of food allergens and the improvement of the nutrient composition of plant-derived oils.
“We are delighted to work with DuPont on what we believe will be a truly groundbreaking collaboration,” said Rachel Haurwitz, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer and co-founder of Caribou Biosciences. “DuPont has been responsible for numerous breakthroughs in CRISPR biology and we are excited to gain access to their impressive knowledge and expertise in developing and applying Cas-mediated genome editing technologies in promising commercial areas. This initiative will serve as a vital accelerator to our advancement of new applications for CRISPR-Cas gene editing that will help bring the tremendous promise this technology holds for patients and consumers to reality.”
This most recent license and collaboration agreement completed by DuPont represents a cornerstone of its strategy as an early adopter and leader in the CRISPR-Cas field. It complements DuPont’s own estate of related patent applications, and adds to the previously announced licensing and collaboration agreements with Vilnius University.