Today the supreme court made a ruling that bans the patenting of naturally occurring genes, however if DNA has been edited or artificially created –> patent away.
The bigest take away I’ve been reading about as a result of Justice Thomas and his peer’s decision is the overturning of the patents held by Utah based Myriad Genetics. They are the biotech company responsible for the popular (but expensive) breast and ovarian cancer tests to detect mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Though these tests have been around for a while, these genes have gotten a little extra publicity lately. After finding a mutation on one of these genes was actress Angelina Jolie’s reason for her recent double mastectomy. This ruling will apply to thousands of other patented genes that are associated with various diseases such as colon cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and muscular dystrophy.
This means that the prices for these tests is drop. In fact, only hours after the decision was made one biotech company, DNATraits said it will offer the test for $995. (this may seem steep, but that is ONE THIRD the cost of Myriad’s test).
Wanna read more about it? Here are some interesting articles I found:
- An article from 2007 taking a look at patent controversies:
- Videos more your bag: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57589270/supreme-courts-gene-patent-decision-celebrated-by-research-labs/