This is huge: USSCSCOTUS throws out gene patents

If I read this correctly, this applies to all gene patents. Which opens up genes to multiple groups trying to target specific diseases.

Its good for people as it increases the likelihood that no one company can “landgrab” a set of genes implicated in various diseases and do nothing with them.

Its bad for companies business models attacking these diseases, especially smaller biotech/startups. The model wasn’t sound to begin with, you cannot patent nature or natural things. Unfortunately, 30 years ago when the practice started, the USPTO made the mistake of not following its own rules. So there will be lots of damage … due to the USPTO’s need to change their practices to comply with their own rules … to business models that depended upon (artificial) scarcity of genes.

Its bad for consumers for a number of reasons. As odd as it sounds, the mistake that the USPTO made, enabled a business model to bloom that allowed smaller companies to protect their work in a powerful manner. Now, without that protection, the VC risk equation changes (which changes the funding issues). And more to the point, companies will basically focus more efforts on common diseases than relatively rarer, even if those rarer diseases may have additional revenue angles. The issue is with a broken businss model, companies will flee to the safety of known markets that matter, such as common diseases.

Ok, I am not going into great depth here, and I should discuss this in greater depth. Not right now though.

Way back when we were developing the accelerator business models, one of the major areas we were targeting was drug discovery, specifically the goal of reducing time to market by enabling more simulation, and faster fail out. The sooner something fails, the less likely it is to take more capital/effort with it. Our hope was that simulation would do this.

With this ruling, I’d argue that this is going to push HPC in life sciences even harder than before, and simulation and early fail out will become ever more important.

Its not the end of a market, but a new set of conditions will need to form first to enable people to really play. And markets don’t spontaneously implode, it takes a long time for the effects to diffuse through. But diffuse through, they will.

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One thought on “This is huge: USSCSCOTUS throws out gene patents

  1. I lost my sister (a Dr. herself) from breast cancer last year apparently related to her BRCA2 mutation. Both a daughter and I also have the mutation. I welcome the breaking of Myriad’s monopoly and hope that this will enable other research and reduce the cost of diagnostic tests.

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