Pairwise’s license of DNA base editing technology from Harvard University

Smith Anderson advised Pairwise in the transasaction

Harvard University has granted a license to Pairwise Plants, an agriculture startup, to develop and commercialize DNA base editing applications for food and agriculture companies across specialty crops, fruits and vegetables.

The licensed technology platform of base editing methods, variations of Cas9, and related enzymes, was developed in the Harvard laboratory of David R. Liu, PhD, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Base editing allows for precise and efficient changes directly to the sequence of DNA bases – As, Cs, Gs, and Ts – in a plant’s genome. Pairwise will further develop and apply the technology to accelerate crop innovation needed in the face of growing environmental and global food security challenges.

The license to Pairwise, granted by Harvard’s Office of Technology Development, incorporates limitations in keeping with internationally accepted standards, including prohibitions on the company’s use of the technology for gene drives, creation of sterile seed stocks, or modifications of tobacco for human use. Subject to similar safety considerations, the right of academic and other not-for-profit researchers to use Harvard’s technology in their scholarly research is, as always, preserved.

Smith Anderson advised Pairwise on the transaction with a team including Jason Brege (Picture), Michael Saber and John Therien.


Involved fees earner: Jason Brege – Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jerni; Michael Saber – Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jerni; John Therien – Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jerni;

Law Firms: Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jerni;

Clients: Pairwise Plants;



Author: Ambrogio Visconti