By Sandra Park
On July 30, a divided appellate court upheld patents on two human genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The ruling partially reverses a landmark decision by a federal district court in March 2010 that concluded that human genes cannot be patented. The appellate court did affirm the district court’s invalidation of several claims on methods for comparing two genetic sequences.
The decision today allows companies like Myriad Genetics, which controls the patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, to exclude others from testing and conducting research on patented genes.