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NAPIGEN awarded patent for CRISPR technology

Breakthrough patent for mitochondrial and chloroplast genome editing marks a significant advancement in CRISPR technologies.

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted a significant patent, US11920140, to NAPIGEN, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on mitochondrial and chloroplast genome engineering. This patent covers the methods for editing the genomes of mitochondria or plastids, marking a major breakthrough in the field of CRISPR genome editing technologies.

Mitochondria, known as cellular powerhouses, are essential components of plant, fungal, algal, and animal cells. Traditionally, these organelles have been challenging to edit using CRISPR technologies due to difficulties in delivering RNA or DNA into them. Dr. Emil Orozco, Jr., Vice President of Intellectual Property at NAPIGEN, Inc., emphasized that this patent underscores the company's dedication to securing broad patent protection for its innovative technologies in this area. He highlighted the potential applications of these technologies in promoting greener agriculture with higher yields and effective pest management, with a reduced impact on the climate. Furthermore, this technology holds promise for curing heritable mitochondrial diseases and producing crucial industrial biomolecules.

In a significant development, NAPIGEN, Inc. also announced receiving a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. This grant, the third SBIR award since the company's inception in 2016, will support the development of an herbicide-resistant trait that cannot be transmitted via pollen to weedy plants. This project aims to aid American rice farmers in managing weedy rice more effectively, thereby contributing to improved crop yields.

Dr. Byung-Chun Yoo, Director of Business Development at NAPIGEN, Inc., stated that the project's success would bolster the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture and contribute to national food security. Additionally, the company is working on efficient hybrid crop systems.

Having raised $8 million in its Seed round two years ago, NAPIGEN, Inc. is now gearing up to complete a Series A financing round this year. This funding will be instrumental in advancing partnerships with agricultural companies and introducing their products to the market, paving the way for innovative solutions in agricultural biotechnology.

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