US Supreme Court Limits Gene Patents In Mixed Ruling

US Supreme Court limits gene patents in mixed ruling

U.S. Supreme Court justices issued unanimously issued a mixed ruling on Myriad Genetics Inc.’s patents on genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer.

The court holds that natural isolated DNA not patentable, but synthetic DNA can be patented.

The ruling marks an important moment for patent law, with implications for the growing field of personalized medicine and efforts to map the human brain and discover new uses for embryonic stem cells.

The decision is a partial victory for doctors’ groups and patient advocates that accused Myriad of using its patents to block clinical testing and research. Biotechnology, agriculture and drug industries backed Myriad in the case, telling the court that gene patents have led to valuable treatments.

Photo: DNA samples from New York terrorism victims lie in a locked cold storage cabinet at Myriad Genetics in Salt Lake City. (Douglas C. Pizac / AP via Bloomberg News)