Biotech Patent Bottleneck Harms Makers
Date: September 05, 1988
|While the U.S. Patent Office fiddles, small firms lacking earnings records may be losing potential investors|
WASHINGTON—Chemist George Rathman won’t soon forget July 1, 1987, the day that the worth of his company’s stock dropped $10 million in six hours. President and CEO of Aragen Inc., an eight-year-old biotechnology firm in Thou- sand Oaks, Calif., Rathmann calls the experience “a nightmare.” But the nightmare wasn’t caused by a crash on Wall Street. The nightmare even has a name: the US. Patent and Trademark Office.
In 1982 Amgen had applied for a patent on a technique involving a hormone genetically engineered to treat anemia. Five years later, on June 30, its competitor, Genetics Institute of Cambridge, Mass., was granted a patent involving the production of the same drug after having ified an application in 1985. Investors...