August 26th, 2011
Posted by Ken Walz
Last month, my colleague Shane Climie wrote a post inspired by an article in the New York Times (“How Bright Promise in Cancer Testing Fell Apart”), which exposed disturbing and cautionary insights into the application of genetic testing technology. Today, I’m responding to a recent New York Times article in which reporter Andrew Pollack wrote of challenges facing Myriad Genetics in spite of the company having received a victory when a federal appeals court upheld the company’s patents on two human genes – and the validity of gene patents.
It’s worth checking out Andy’s article for more context, but here are my two cents on some of the issues covered:
- My hunch is that eventually courts will rule (and in so doing give clear guidance) that while products of nature cannot be patented, companies likely will be able to continue to patent the knowledge that a gene or other physiological marker (all of which are “products of nature”) correlates to a particular condition, disease, and/or drug response. This is a key point of clarity that is needed in order for the field of “personalized medicine” to reach its full potential. Read the rest of this entry »