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CRISPR-Cas Conference

Control and Access: Intellectual property and CRISPR-Cas gene editing for innovation in crop agriculture

October 24-25, 2019 Keystone Policy Center and Keystone Lodge Keystone, Colorado, USA

Organized by Colorado State University, with support from: Program on Social Implications of Food and Agricultural Technologies National Institutes of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)   Programme on Biological Resources in Agriculture Co-operative Research Programme (CRP) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Conference Objectives

  1. to provide understanding of the complex and evolving IP landscape, including the licensing arrangements, that governs access to CRISPR for use in commercial crop agriculture
  2. to compile a range of expert opinion and critical analyses of the current IP situation, as well as perceptions, concerns, and feedback from stakeholders across industry, governments, and NGOs
  3. to explore implications of the IP and licensing regime on public perceptions, regulatory politics, and, by extension, the incentives and risks of using CRISPR across a wide range of innovations for sustainable agriculture


In 2012 scientific breakthroughs turned a molecular defense mechanism in bacteria called CRISPR-Cas it into a powerful tool for making changes or “edits” to the DNA sequences of any living organisms. It works in microbes, animals, and plants, and promises to be useful for a wide range of applications ranging from human health to improvements in crops. These breakthroughs led to a scramble by universities and companies to secure patents on different aspects of the technology. Then came several years of high profile patent disputes and the weaving of a complex web of licensing deals amongst venture-capital funded startups and large corporations. In the meantime, scientists in academic laboratories around the world were quickly adopting CRISPR gene editing tools for work in their laboratories, thanks to free dissemination for academic research use, via a nonprofit organization called AddGene. The world seems poised for further eruptions of legal conflict as new gene-edited advances are beginning to emerge from the lab and start moving toward commercial application. Yet, against this backdrop, in late 2017 an agreement was announced between Pioneer-DuPont (now Corteva AgSciences) and the Broad Institute, holders of the two largest CRISPR patent portfolios. They are offering non-exclusive licenses for commercial use of the full suite of foundational CRISPR patents in crop agriculture. In the past, proprietary control over research tools—such as those used to create GMO crops—come to be associated with lack of transparency, a general loss of “social license” to use that technology and increased political pressure for regulatory scrutiny. Will things play out differently for the use of CRISPR gene editing in crop agriculture? If so, might the CRISPR licensing framework in agriculture become a model for other industries or technologies?

Conference Registration

Conference Hotel and Travel Information

Airport: Keystone is a quick 90-minute drive from Denver International Airport (DIA) and approximately 70 miles from downtown Denver.

Hotel: The hotel for the conference is the Keystone Lodge and Spa, 22101 US-6, Dillon, CO 80435, a property of Keystone Resort which is owned and operated by Vail Resorts. A block of rooms is being held until September 25, and conference participants can book online with the following link: CSU- CRISPR Intellectual Property Workshop – CP8CRID. (For government rate, use link: CSU- CRISPR Intellectual Property Workshop – CP8CRGT – Government)

Ground transportation: Epic Mountain Express provides shuttle service on a frequent schedule to and from the airport and will take you directly to your accommodations in Keystone in a comfortable and timely fashion. Services offered include both shared-ride shuttles and Private Vehicles. Conference participants are particularly encouraged to utilize these professional services in the event of poor weather conditions.

For car rentals, Hertz is proud to partner with Vail Resorts to offer discounted rates to all guests of Keystone Resort and Conference Center. Conference attendees can take advantage of these discounts through Keystone Reservations.

Local shuttle transportation is available to all Keystone guests from the many bus stops within the resort. Keystone’s free in-resort transportation offers a convenient schedule that will take you to and from your lodging locations to the mountain base areas and Village, conference center, and activities and dining outlets.

Conference venue: The main conference sessions will be held at the Keystone Policy Center, 1628 Saints John Rd, Keystone, CO 80435. The Keystone Policy Center is an easy 10-minute walk from the hotel. (NOTE: There is a convenient underpass for you to cross under U.S. Highway 6.) A local shuttle will also be arranged to depart from the main hotel entrance.

Draft Agenda and Speakers

Thursday Oct 24
Session 1. Setting the stage
The cascading nature of the foundational CRISPR inventions
The complexity of the CRISPR patent and licensing landscapeProf. Jake Sherkow, New York Law School
Policy concerns for collaborative platforms, including tools for genome editingDavid Winickoff, Secretary of the Working Party on Bio-, Nano-, and Converging Technologies, OECD
Session 2. Licensing CRISPR for use in agricultural research and commercial innovation
The availability of CRISPR as a research tool for academic and nonprofit researchDr. Joanne Kamens, Executive Director, AddGene
From the academic side: The licensing principles of the Broad Institute and the development of the joint framework for the nonexclusive licenses to CRISPR-Cas9 for commercial agricultural R&DIssi Rozen, Executive Director of Intellectual Property Licensing, The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University
From the corporate side: The development of Corteva's CRISPR portfolio and Open Innovation initiativeDr. Matthias Müller, Director of Open Innovation, Corteva Agriscience
Lunch. Agricultural research and commercial innovation utilizing CRISPRSeveral of the companies licensing CRISPR under the Corteva/Broad Institute framework have been invited to provide overviews of how they are using CRISPR gene editing in their commercial R&D pipeline.
Session 3. Lessons from licensing of other research tools and standard-essential patents
How access arrangements constructed around previous biological research tools have affected follow-on commercializationProf. Tania Bubela, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University
Concepts and precedents of Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) royalties and their implications for licensing of biological research toolsDr. Bo Heiden, Sahlgrenska School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Sahlgrenska School of Medicine, University of Gothenburg
The power of sharing to promote public trust: implications for the case of genome editing technologiesProf. Diane Nicol, Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania
Session 4. Challenges potentially faced by the joint licensing framework
CRISPR patents and the advantages and disadvantages of different models of pooling patents
The CRISPR patents: Restoring or damning the fallen angels of Bayh-Dole? Prof. Robert Cook-Deegan, Arizona State University
Friday October 25
Session 5. Factors shaping the use of genome editing in agriculture and food
The status of regulatory regimes in the US and abroad for use of CRISPR in cropsDr. Fan Li Chou, USDA Biotechnology Adviser
The range of factors influencing the use of genome editing in agriculture, food, and bioenergy industries in JapanDr. Yoshiyuki Fujishima, New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, Global Technology Research Unit, Technology Strategy Center
Session 6. How the degree of IP access can influence public trust and the politics of new technologies
The influence of IP access on the political economy of regulatory regimesDavid Zilberman, Robinson Chair Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California Berkeley
The IP-regulatory complex and its influence on the translation of agricultural genomics into commercial practiceEmily Marden, Research Associate, Faculty of Law and Department of Botany, University of British Columbia
The dynamic interactions between IP information and innovationProf. Osmat Jefferson, Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology
The role of the patent system in incentivising and diffusing the inventions of CRISPRDominique Guellec, Head of Science and Technology Policy, OECD, and former Chief Economist, European Patent Office
Concluding Session
Policy ePanelfive of the invited speakers
to be produced and broadcast as a global webinar by Virtual Keystone Symposium

Sponsored by

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
Program on Social Implications of Food and Agricultural Technologies


The OECD Co-operative Research Programme:

Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agricultural Systems


Organized by

CSU Logo

Conference advisory board members

Dr. Rafael Blasco, INIA, Ministry of Science and Innovation, Spain, and member of Scientific Advisory Board, Co-operative Research Programme (CRP) Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agricultural Systems, Trade and Agriculture Directorate, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Julie Shapiro, Senior Policy Director, Keystone Policy Center

Dr. Robert Cook-Deegan, MD, Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University

Jacob Sherkow, JD, Professor of Law, Innovation Center for Law and Technology, New York Law School

Dr. David Winickoff, Secretary, Working Party on Bio-, Nano- and Converging Technologies (BNCT), Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation, OECD

For more information, please contact

Dr. Gregory D. Graff
Professor, Economics of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics
College of Agricultural Sciences
Colorado State University

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