Although CRISPR was known to have an important role in bacterial immunity for over a decade, it is only in the last 5 years that it has garnered interest as a gene editing tool. Increasing investment in this field is indicative of global market opportunities for CRISPR-Cas9 over existing alternatives.

The objective of this study is to explore the market and patenting activity in CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology. This study considers issued patents and pending published applications related to CRISPR-Cas9 published since January 1, 2007. Search strategies using various combinations of keywords, classification codes, and prominent assignees resulted in more than 10K patent families. The hits were then refined by semi-automated techniques to arrive at 4800 unique patent applications that spread across ~1750 INPADOC families. These 1750 patent families were analyzed for trends and patterns to identify IP investment, key players, licensing activity and prolific inventors.

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