Publication Of Human Genome Sequence Launches New Era In Medicine

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 12, 2001) - Carl B. Feldbaum, president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), issued the following statement on announcements today that Science and Nature are publishing the DNA sequence of the human genome.

"With publication of the human DNA sequence, researchers worldwide now have access to the most accurate information in history for developing new diagnostics, treatments and cures for illnesses such as heart disease, various cancers, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and AIDS," Feldbaum said.

"The full DNA sequence opens up all the cells and tissues of thebody to analysis of how they develop, react to the environment and falter in response to diseases. With this data, researchers can move from the 20th century practice of trial and error experimentation for finding effective therapies to a new era of precision in drug design based on known molecular targets.

"Complementing publication of the human DNA sequence is the U.S. Patent and Trademark Offices' new guidelines for patenting gene-based inventions. These guidelines, implemented in January, provide the biotechnology industry and universities with a clearer framework in which to operate when filing patent applications. The result will be issuance of strong, enforceable patents that are essential for translating the data from the human genome sequence into new drugs and vaccines for patients."

BIO represents more than 940 companies, academic institutions and state biotech centers in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.