CRISPR, Surrogate Licensing, and Scientific Discovery

Science, Vol. 355, Issue 6326, pp. 698-700, Feb. 2017

University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 223

4 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2017 Last revised: 16 Aug 2017

See all articles by Jorge L. Contreras

Jorge L. Contreras

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Jacob S. Sherkow

New York Law School; Columbia University - Department of Health Policy and Management; Center for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation Law

Date Written: February 17, 2017

Abstract

Several research institutions are embroiled in a legal dispute over the foundational patent rights to CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology, and it may take years for their competing claims to be resolved. But even before ownership of the patents is finalized, the institutions behind CRISPR have wasted no time capitalizing on the huge market for this groundbreaking technology by entering into a series of licensing agreements with commercial enterprises. With respect to the potentially lucrative market for human therapeutics and treatments, each of the key CRISPR patent holders has granted exclusive rights to a spinoff or "surrogate" company formed by the institution and one of its principal researchers. Although this model, in which a university effectively outsources the licensing and commercialization of a valuable patent portfolio to a private company, is not uncommon in the world of university technology transfer, we suggest it could rapidly bottleneck the use of CRISPR technology to discover and develop useful human therapeutics.

Keywords: Intellectual Property, Patent, Biotech, Biotechnology, CRISPR, Genetics, Surrogate, Licensing, Spinoff

JEL Classification: K00, K23, K41, O3, O34, D23, K11

Suggested Citation

Contreras, Jorge L. and Sherkow, Jacob S., CRISPR, Surrogate Licensing, and Scientific Discovery (February 17, 2017). Science, Vol. 355, Issue 6326, pp. 698-700, Feb. 2017; University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 223. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2993190

Jorge L. Contreras

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States

Jacob S. Sherkow (Contact Author)

New York Law School ( email )

185 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013
United States
212.431.2355 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nyls.edu/faculty/faculty-profiles/faculty_profiles/jacob-s-sherkow/

Columbia University - Department of Health Policy and Management ( email )

600 West 168th Street, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10032
United States

Center for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation Law ( email )

Studiestraede 6
Studiestrade 6
Copenhagen, DK-1455
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://jura.ku.dk/cebil/staff/

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