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Myriad Genetics loses gene patent suit

March 30, 2010 1:26 AM UTC

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that patents covering the breast cancer 1 early onset (BRCA1) and BRCA2 genes held by Myriad Genetics Inc. (NASDAQ:MYGN) are invalid. District Judge Robert Sweet wrote in his 152-page decision that isolated DNA is not "markedly different" from native DNA, which is not patentable because it is a product of nature. Judge Sweet also said the patents' methods of analyzing and comparing genes were invalid under the "machine-or-transformation" test, the legality of which was the subject of oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court in Bilski v. Kappos last year (See BioCentury, Nov. 16, 2009). The court did not consider the constitutionality of gene patents, dismissing those claims against the PTO. The case, Association for Molecular Pathology, et. al. v. United States Patent and Trademark Office, et. al. was filed in May 2009 by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT). Myriad Genetics, which markets tests to predict risk of breast and ovarian cancers based on the genes, could not be reached for comment (See BioCentury, Feb. 08, 2010). ...