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Merck KGaA to receive EU patent for CRISPR technology

The European Patent Office will grant Germany's Merck KGaA a patent covering the use of its proxy-CRISPR genome editing technology.

The patent covers rights to use the technology to insert an external or donor DNA sequence in eukaryotic cells, which includes all animals and plants cells.

Earlier this year, Merck said it had developed an alternative CRISPR genome editing method called proxy-CRISPR, which it says is more efficient.

CRISPR technology allows the precise modification of chromosomes in living cells by cutting and pasting of gene sequences and is being developed to treat medical conditions that have a genetic component, including cancer and other rare genetic diseases.

Australia was the first country to have granted Merck a patent for its technology. Merck also filed for patents in multiple other regions, including the U.S., China, Europe and Japan.