Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A), announced today the company intends to appeal the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office (USPTO) Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) Final Written Decision in connection with the Inter Partes review (IPR) of U.S. Patent Nos. 10,337,001 & 10,900,034 (the Agilent Patents). The PTAB recently reversed the USPTO’s original decision granting claims directed towards chemically modified synthetic CRISPR guide RNA.
Agilent respectfully disagrees with the PTAB’s opinion of unpatentability in view of prior art previously considered by the USPTO during its primary examination. The work presented in the two Agilent Patents is also discussed in a publication as part of a broader collaboration with Stanford University in the widely cited paper: Hendel, Ayal et al. “Chemically modified guide RNAs enhance CRISPR-Cas genome editing in human primary cells.” Nature biotechnology vol. 33,9 (2015): 985-989. doi:10.1038/nbt.3290.
The Agilent Patents describe synthesis and testing of hundreds of chemically modified CRISPR guide RNA molecules that were shown to improve the efficiency of CRISPR-based gene editing. Prior to the work done by Agilent’s inventors, it was not known whether the many chemical modifications Agilent made to the various and long guide RNAs would disrupt functionality of the gRNA:Cas enzyme complex. That answer was discovered and disclosed by the Agilent inventors as a multidisciplinary team and using Agilent’s own patented chemical synthesis methods.
Building upon its years of expertise in nucleic acid synthesis, Agilent offers the scientific community both research-grade and cGMP-grade guide RNA products incorporating chemical modifications. Agilent’s SureGuide research-grade gRNA products are made and sold in Agilent’s production facility in Santa Clara, California. Agilent’s Nucleic Acid Solutions Division makes and sells its large-scale, cGMP-grade ClinGuide products in its state-of-the art production facilities headquartered in Boulder, Colorado.
Agilent is confident in the innovative contributions made by its scientists and intends to appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. This patent family also remains open with ongoing prosecution of new claims. Agilent’s Patents will persist until all appeals have been exhausted, and the PTAB decision does not affect Agilent’s continued leadership in CRISPR technologies as a provider of superior-quality guide RNAs. The PTAB’s decision in no way affects Agilent’s ability to make or sell chemically modified gRNA guides.