- PerkinElmer and Qiagen are the latest medtechs to target the rapidly growing CRISPR market with technologies designed to aid gene editing to correct genetic defects and treat cancer, hemophilia, sickle cell anemia and other diseases.
- Qiagen has launched new CRISPR products to enable researchers to better analyze the gene editing impact of their work, while PerkinElmer has bought German viral vector gene delivery company SIRION Biotech to complement its portfolio of CRISPR gene editing tools.
- The market for gene therapies has boomed as dozens of companies have advanced deep into clinical testing and several treatments have won regulatory approval. Gene editing is a comparatively smaller market, but growing rapidly as CRISPR and other technologies become important tools for drug development.
The flexibility and power of CRISPR gene editing, which was the focus of the 2020 Nobel Prize in chemistry, is driving companies to develop and license the technology for use treating a wide range of diseases.
Using CRISPR, researchers and companies can "cut" DNA sequences as if using a pair of molecular scissors, enabling changes in gene expression that could dramatically change the course of certain inherited diseases.
CRISPR is also currently being used as a low-cost diagnostic to detect COVID-19. Sherlock Biosciences in May 2020 received emergency use authorization for its SARS-CoV-2 test kit, the first FDA-authorized use of CRISPR technology.
Qiagen's product launch this week marks its first products dedicated to the fast-growing field, adding to its other offerings that the company claims can also be used for CRISPR research.
Thomas Schweins, senior vice president for life sciences at Qiagen, said in a statement the company's dedicated CRISPR products will boost the potential for progress "in biomedical research into cancer, neurological conditions, gene therapy, cell therapy, immunotherapy, regenerative medicine, and disease modeling — and in the discovery of disease-signaling biomarkers and drug development."
PerkinElmer on Tuesday announced an agreement to acquire SIRION Biotech GmbH, a provider provider of viral vector-based technologies, for an undisclosed amount. Viral vectors are commonly used to deliver gene therapies into the body but could also be used as a way to do the same with gene editing tools like CRISPR.
Thermo Fisher Scientific, meanwhile, is already a key player in the CRISPR technology market. In 2018, the company licensed CRISPR technologies from the Broad Institute and ERS Genomics to bolster its genome editing intellectual property portfolio, gaining rights to products, tools and services for research. The company secured previous licenses from Korean biotech ToolGen for its CRISPR technology.
Thermo Fisher also holds rights to intellectual property around TALEN, a genome editing technology that works in a different way than CRISPR.