Ricoh and ERS Genomics Enter License Agreement for CRISPR/Cas9 Technology

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Ricoh aims to create novel disease models for R&D using ERS Genomics’ CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology.

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On March 13, 2024, Japan=based Ricoh Company, a digital services company, and Ireland-based ERS Genomics announced that they have entered into a non-exclusive licensing agreement in the United States and Japan that gives Ricoh access to clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) genome editing technology patents managed by ERS Genomics.

CRISPR/Cas9 has been shown to be a breakthrough gene editing technology as it enables relatively easy modification of targeted genome sequences. It has become an essential tool in drug discovery research and has application across other fields, according to Ricoh in a company press release. The CRISPR technology is “so new” that UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA’s) approval of Casgevy in November 2023 “caused quite a stir in both the medical and pharmaceutical worlds” (1,2). Alongside FDA’s approval of Casgevy in December 2023, the regulatory authorities’ approvals mark a significant turning point in the biopharma industry (3,4). Casgevy is the first therapeutic based on CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology to be approved by regulatory authorities anywhere in the world (4).

As part of Ricoh’s strategy with its recent moves, the company is aiming to predict the mechanism of action of drug candidates for patients with varied genetic backgrounds. The goal is to improve the speed and efficiency with which messenger RNA (mRNA) is designed; the company plans to achieve this goal by combining certain core technologies with the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology. In 2022, the company completed the acquisition of Baltimore, Md.-based Elixirgen Scientific (5), whose core technologies enable the rapid and efficient differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells as well as the design, production, and management of mRNA.


By manipulating the genetic editing of cells to enhance or diminish specific functions, it thus becomes possible to create highly reliable disease models, including models for rare diseases. Ricoh expects that such an advancement will lead to shorter drug development timelines and increased success rates, according to the company press release. Meanwhile, following through on its acquisition of Elixirgen Scientific, Ricoh has been expanding the application areas for that company’s technology through its expertise in digital and artificial intelligence technologies.


1. Spivey, C. New Medicines, Markets, and Manufacture: CRISPR for Sickle Cell Disease and β-thalassemia. Pharm. Technol. online, Nov. 30, 2023.
2. Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Vertex and CRISPR Therapeutics Announce Authorization of the First CRISPR/Cas9 Gene-Edited Therapy, CASGEVY (exagamglogene autotemcel), by the United Kingdom MHRA for the Treatment of Sickle Cell Disease and Transfusion-Dependent Beta Thalassemia. Press Release, Nov. 16, 2023.
3. FDA. FDA Approves First Gene Therapies to Treat Patients with Sickle Cell Disease. Press Release, Dec. 8, 2023.
4. Mirasol, F. Milestone Approval to Steady Stream, Gene Editing Revs Up. BioPharm Int. 2024, 37 (2), 16–19,25.
5. Ricoh. Ricoh to Strengthen Support for Drug Discovery Services Using mRNA. Press Release, May 17, 2022.

Source: Ricoh