Evening round-up: Myriad Genetics
on Jun 13, 2013 at 5:45 pm
As expected, today’s unanimous ruling in the gene-patenting case, Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., has generated widespread coverage. Reporting and commentary on the decision have proclaimed a partial victory for both sides, focusing on the Court’s choice to differentiate between naturally occurring DNA and man-made cDNA, with only the latter being deemed patent eligible. And with genetic research continuing to grow and expand, discussion and analysis have also considered the ruling’s implications for patients, geneticists, and biotechnology companies.
This blog’s coverage of the decision included an analysis by Lyle Denniston, who reports that “because Myriad Genetics, Inc., ‘did not create anything,’ the Court struck down its patent on isolating human genes from the bloodstream.” Tom Goldstein provided an early report on the decision, noting that although DNA patents were rejected, the ruling may well provide the biomedical industry with “significant patent protection . . . for inventions derived” from DNA.
Max Mallory rounded up initial reports of other coverage for this blog, while at NBCNews.com, Pete Williams and Erin McClam report that patient advocates believe this decision will “increase competition and lower the cost of screenings for cancer risk and other genetic tests.” Additional coverage comes from Robert Barnes and Brady Dennis of The Washington Post, Lawrence Hurley of Reuters, Brent Kendall and Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal, David G. Savage of the Los Angeles Times, Michael Doyle of McClatchy, Richard Wolf of USA Today, Brett Norman of POLITICO, Erin Fuchs of Business Insider, and David Kravets of Wired.
Myriad Genetics released a statement of its own, emphasizing the portion of the Court’s decision that upholds patent claims on cDNA. It also focused on what it saw as the Court’s support for the patent eligibility of its method claims.
Commentary on the decision comes from Noah Feldman at Bloomberg View, who argues that “the court’s distinction rests on very shaky scientific grounds — and can be explained more by political economy than by logic.” At Forbes, Steven Salzberg contends that the Court got the decision right but the science wrong, while at the New Republic Jeff Guo criticizes the Court’s reasoning as “bizarre.” But Art Caplan applauds the decision at NBCNews.com, arguing that the Court “has finally done what should have been done years ago.”
Finally at Slate, Mark Joseph Stern discusses Justice Scalia’s brief concurrence in Myriad, concluding that “Scalia, in other words, doesn’t really understand the scientific basis of the case. And—unlike, implicitly, some of the other justices—he’s not going to pretend to.”