BIO Joins Stakeholders in Expressing Concerns with Efforts to Restrict Gene Patenting

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 05, 2010) – The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) released today a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius regarding the potentially harmful recommendations of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society (SACGHS) in its Report on Gene Patents and Licensing Practices and Their Impact on Patient Access to Genetic Tests.

BIO was  joined on the letter by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), Genetic Alliance, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), and more than 20 other stakeholders in urging Secretary Sebelius to reject the Committee’s recommendations and to ensure that the fundamentals of the innovation system put in place nearly 30 years ago through the Bayh-Dole Act are preserved. 

In the letter, the stakeholders stated, “We welcome efforts to improve patient access to genetic tests, and stand ready to work with you and other interested parties to do so. But we believe that the recommendations, if implemented, would unravel two sets of laws that are the foundation of life science innovation in this country – the patent system and the Bayh-Dole Act. This would do more harm to patients than good, by impairing the research, development and commercialization of the medicines and diagnostic tests of tomorrow.”

“By undermining the value of gene-based patents, these recommendations would chill future investment and innovation, and would undermine the investment-backed expectations of current patent owners and licensees,” stated BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood.  “The United States must preserve incentives for investment and innovation, particularly given the current state of the economy. It is not the time to undertake or recommend policy changes that would undermine the foundations of American life sciences innovation.”

The letter is available at

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About BIO
BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.