Biotech Under Siege

In what is now known as the Myriad decision, the University of Utah and Myriad Genetics AND the entire biotech industry were dealt a severe blow by what many feel was a confused District Court which found some of its isolated genes (relating to breast cancer detection) unpatentable. In amicus filings by AUTM and BIO (Association of University Transfer Managers and Biotechnology Industry Association), they briefly attempted to explain the errors in the DC’s thinking.

  1. The isolated DNA molecules in question are, indeed, man-made,
  2. Even if 1. weren’t true, the intervention process required to get the chemical compounds into the state in question is patentable, and
  3. The DNA molecule is a patentable chemical compound, not just bits of information.
 Valuations of biotech companies, especially start-ups, are now in a very murky zone. “As of” dates become critical, and extensive amendments/ appendices to reports are likely.  We can’t set odds on the reversal of the DC’s decision, and we don’t want to be overly dramatic here in our reporting, but the amicus briefs are convincing, and an entire industry may well hang in the balance.