SAN DIEGO, July 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Cibus, a leader in advanced plant-breeding technologies, today announced it has been granted a new patent related to increasing the efficiency of gene targeting in plants. The patent further extends the Cibus intellectual property portfolio of more than 300 patents and applications to precisely target and direct a plant's natural gene-editing processes, with results similar to natural plant cross-breeding that has been a staple of farming for thousands of years.
The new patent encompasses Cibus methods for using its proprietary Gene Repair Oligonucleotide (GRON) in combination with specialized enzymes called nucleases, such as a Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat (CRISPR) nuclease or Transcription Activator-Like Effector Nuclease (TALEN). The nuclease acts as molecular scissors to enhance the editing of DNA in combination with the GRON to produce a targeted genetic change in the plant without incorporating any foreign matter. This approach results in a completely non-transgenic modification, meaning no foreign genetic material has been integrated into the plant.
Existing Cibus patents cover methods an oligonucleotide can be used to effect genetic changes in a plant in a non-GMO or non-transgenic manner, and with this patent the company now believes it has intellectual property covering the use of GRONs in combination with any of the molecular scissors currently used as tools to help make such changes.
"The issuance of this new patent further protects Cibus innovation, validates our work and extends our lead in developing completely non-transgenic traits for the world's most essential crops," said Dr. Peter Beetham, co-founder and chief executive officer. "Non-transgenic traits are critical to the future of farming, helping to produce natural, non-GMO food using fewer pesticides and in rapidly changing climates. This patent represents another major endorsement of Cibus' pioneering role in advancing gene editing by the agency with the most intimate knowledge of the technology."
Cibus' Rapid Trait Development System, or RTDS, is its family of techniques protected by patents and trade secrets that enable precise edits to a plant gene, and the regeneration of an entire plant from the single edited cell, all without the integration of foreign DNA that would render the plant transgenic. The Cibus non-transgenic approach is recognized in certain key commercial markets as non-GMO and provides for a rapid introduction of multiple plant traits that can improve nutrition, increase crop yields, and reduce the environmental impact of farming.
Cibus was previously issued patent No.9,957,515 from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office protecting the use of its GRON when introduced into a plant cell to effect a mediated genetic change when used in combination with a CRISPR. The new patent, No. 10,287,594, covers use of the GRON in combination with a broader range of nucleases.
Cibus is a biotechnology company using advanced technologies to develop desirable plant traits for the global seed industry by precisely editing a plant's genes without the integration of foreign genetic material. This technique accelerates natural breeding that has been a staple of farming for thousands of years and has been classified in certain key agricultural markets as not subject to GMO regulation. Cibus has launched its first commercial canola products, now marketed under the Falco™ brand, and is developing a pipeline of beneficial traits in other crops that it plans to license, including healthier oil quality, disease resistance, and herbicide tolerance. Cibus has established crop platforms in canola, rice, flax, potato, and is now developing platforms in wheat, corn, soybean and peanut. The broad applicability of Cibus' technologies is highlighted by its Nucelis division, which extends the company's trait development program to microorganisms, including yeast, bacteria and algae, for the food, flavor and fragrance and personal care markets. The company has subsidiaries in Europe and North America and a state-of-the-art research and development center in San Diego.