Supreme Court rules human genes not patentable

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June 17, 2013, 9:00 pm
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(NECN) - A recent Supreme Court decision ruled that biotechnology companies could not patent human genes.

MassBio is the main industry group for the biotechnology industry in Massachusetts. Bob Coughlin, the President and CEO of MassBio, discussed the recent decision with Mike Nikitas.

Initially, it may seem that the decision would hurt biotechnology companies in the Bay State, but Coughlin said that it's actually the opposite.

"It won't adversely affect the Massachusetts biotech industry that much," he said. "This case allows for the continuing patent of CDNA, which is copy DNA - synthetic DNA. And synthetic DNA is, commercially, the most used form of DNA here in the Massachusetts biotechnology industry."

The downside, Coughlin added, is that more than 8,000 patents already exist for sequences that mimic natural DNA. Now, those aren't patentable.

But Coughlin is uncertain what will happen to those already patented sequences, and said it is a wait-and-see situation.

Watch the attached video for more.

Tags: massachusetts, Supreme Court, genes, Bob Coughlin, MassBio, biotechnology
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