Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sen. Leahy Requests Compulsory License of Myriad Patents

From a press release on Senator Patrick Leahy's website:

"July 12, 2013
WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Friday sent a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) urging the agency to consider using its authority to ensure greater access to life-saving genetic testing that was developed with federal research dollars."
The letter urges NIH Director Francis Collins to exercise "march-in rights" to either force Myriad to license its patents at a reasonable royalty rate, or, if Myriad refuses, to license the patents directly.  This is precisely the type of situation which was envisioned when this provision of the Leahy-Smith Act (permitting the licensing of government funded research) was promulgated.  A link to the letter follows:

One thing I don't like about the Leahy letter is the following statement;  "...As a result, Myriad may continue to be the only company able to provide women with the genetic testing they need..."  That "may" doesn't make clear that there are presently at least two cases pending challenging Myriad's genetic testing program.  But these two labs being sued by Myriad are not the only ones offering the tests.  According to one source:
" Emory Genetics Lab, GeneDx, Pathway Genomics, Ethigen, and the University of Washington announced they would offer BRCA testing after the Supreme Court's ruling in AMP v. Myriad." 

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