As chief communications officer at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, I wish to clarify that the institute makes patent rights for CRISPR–Cas9 genome-editing technologies available globally across academia and industry (see J. Sherkow Nature 532, 172–173; 2016).
For academic research, the patent rights are freely available and we openly share CRISPR reagents through the non-profit repository Addgene. So far, Addgene has processed more than 30,000 requests for these reagents.
For commercial research, we designed a non-exclusive licensing model. For commercial products, we also follow a non-exclusive model — except for human therapeutics, for which we use an 'inclusive innovation model'. This is because companies often need exclusivity to justify investing in expensive clinical trials.
The CRISPR–Cas9 licensing agreement with our primary licensee, Editas, stipulates that, for target genes not being pursued by Editas, we (Broad, Harvard and MIT) will make the licences available to other parties to develop new medicines. This helps to ensure that no promising target genes will be neglected.