Welcome to the Golden age for Gene Editing!

Nuclease-based gene editing technology has opened up how biotechs approach genomic research in industry. A review by Boston Consulting Group explores the background to this excitingly complex field, highlighting how the lengthy genetic revolution has been leading up to this point.

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Boston Consulting Group has released a report on the importance of gene editing to the biotech industry, and how it is revolutionizing innovation, discovery and creation of new patented tech.

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What is meant by Gene Editing?

Engineering controlled gene ‘breakages’ in DNA has led to the development of several major new techniques in homologous recombination of genetic material. Use of nuclease-based gene editing technology (using enzymes which cleave genes at specific target locations) has massively improved the efficiency of gene editing, allowing biotechs to achieve far more research in human therapeutics in a smaller time-frame, and at a reduced cost.

Currently there are 4 major nuclease-based gene editing technologies which exist for research; Meganucleases, Zinc-Finger, Transcription activator-like effector (TALE) and Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR).

The four nucleases technologies: schemes and 3D molecular views. (Source: Figure 6 from Boston Consulting Group Review)

The four nucleases technologies: schemes and 3D molecular views. (Source: Figure 6 from Boston Consulting Group Review)

Use of nuclease-based editing tech in industry

Use of these gene-editing techniques has soared with in an exponential number of patents being filed in the biotech research field each year, especially in the case of CRISPR. Academic research institutions using CRISPR to develop therapeutics for industry patenting to particular financial success include Harvard, MIT and Berkeley etc.

Number of patents filed using nuclease-based gene editing techniques has peaked in the last 5 years

Number of patents filed using nuclease-based gene editing techniques has peaked in the last 5 years. AAGR = Annual Growth Rate. (Source: BCG)

Major Academic research institutions and biotechs which have filed patents using CRISPR gene editing tech in particular

Major Academic research institutions and biotechs which have filed patents using CRISPR gene editing tech in particular (Source: BCG).

These tech tools have opened up a market launchpad for the biotech industry. An example is in the field of human therapeutics, as illustrated by Cellectis and its T-cell cancer therapeutic research, which has led them to build a 1.03Bn market cap. Gene editing has also impacted industrial biotechs, such as Deinove‘s Deinococcus bacterial strain (which has been engineered by gene-editing tech to convert starches found in organic material like tobacco into biofuels) and Glowee (the green initiative using bacteria as a light source).

With over 880M venture capital investment in development of these techniques just in the last 2 years, the R&D tempo is certainly beginning to climax in areas such as cancer, immunology and hereditary disorders (to name just a few).

Click here to read the full-report from Boston Consulting Group

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