Feature

The Birth of CRISPR Inc

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Science  17 Feb 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6326, pp. 680-684
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6326.680

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Summary

Just 5 years ago, the community of researchers studying CRISPR, the powerful new genome editing tool, was small. When the first inklings that CRISPR could become a big business emerged, leading scientists expected to work together. But the attempt at unity collapsed—with a good deal of noise and dust. As the science grew even more compelling and venture capital (VC) beckoned, the jockeying to start CRISPR companies became intense. The research community was rent apart by concerns about intellectual property, academic credit, Nobel Prize dreams, geography, media coverage, egos, personal profit, and loyalty. A billion dollars poured into what might be called CRISPR Inc. from VC firms, pharmaceutical companies, and public stock offerings. And the companies and the academic license holders faced each other down in a battle royale over patents.