The British High Court's rejection linkurl:last week; of a biotech company's patent on the genetic sequence coding for a therapeutically important protein may be a warning for other biotechs who hold patents on portions of the human genome. The court ruled last week that a patent held by Human Genome Sciences since the mid 1990s was invalid because at the time the company applied for the patent they hadn't demonstrated a practical use. The patent in question covers the genetic sequence for a protein in the tumor necrosis factor family, called neutrokine-alpha. The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly filed a suit against Human Genome Sciences, stating that the company's patent did not have sufficient evidence of function or therapeutic potential to warrant granting. The court's rejection will allow Eli Lilly to continue in the development of its own neutrokine-alpha antibody. "What [the ruling] says to bench scientists is 'when you do...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?