Can a company patent a gene? According to a new appeals court ruling, yes — even when that gene is an isolated version of a gene that occurs in nature.
Salt Lake City-based Myriad Genetics sells a test to screen for dangerous variants of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are associated with increased risks of breast and ovarian cancer. On Thursday, the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., upheld the gene patent — but held that some processes related to analyzing gene patents may not have protection.
Pete Corless is a Boston-based partner at Edwards Wildman Palmer, a law firm that represents patent holders — including the National Institutes of Health, universities and biotech companies — in intellectual property cases. He views the appeals court’s decision as a mixed result.