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News Link • Justice and Judges

Questions over Gene Patents Shake Diagnostics Industry

At this week’s Biotechnology Industry Organization show in Chicago, a panel of law experts bemoaned the recent Supreme Court hearings on whether individual genes can be patented, saying there was no sign that anyone involved in the case truly understood the technology or the business implications of their arguments. That’s disturbing, because the decision could have important effects on industries including the developing field of molecular diagnostics. BIO attendees, mostly executives in a variety of biotech fields, crowded into meeting rooms to stand through overfilled sessions on the promises and challenges of personalized medicine and diagnostics. In some cases, these tests can help doctors diagnose disease or predict whether a particular drug will work in a patient or cause unwanted side effects. Other tests can determine how quickly a patient metabolizes drugs, information that can help doctors decide how big a dose to prescribe. 

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