Monday, August 30, 2010

Sanofi Offers $18.5 Billion for Genzyme - NYTimes.com

Sanofi Offers $18.5 Billion for Genzyme - NYTimes.com: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Judge Rules that Genetically Altered Biotechnology Sugar Beets Not Kosher Until Thorough Environmental Review by the Government

Michael Liedtke, AP Business Writer, in his August 15, 2010 article Judge's Ruling Uproots Use of Biotechnology Beets reported that Federal U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White of the Northern District of California has invalidated government approval of genetically modified biotech sugar beets and has barred all future planting pending a full environmental impact review by the government (see the order in Case3:08-cv-00484-JSW Document570 Filed 08/13/10, in Center for Food Safety v. Vilsack, at the New York Times and at DocStoc).

Andrew Pollack covered the story at the New York Times in Judge Revokes Approval of Modified Sugar Beets.

See Federal Judge Bans Genetically Modified Sugar Beets at Treehugger.com

Crossposted from LawPundit.

Federal Circuit Judge Dyk in Intervet v. Merial Dissent Questions Whether Isolated DNA is Patentable Subject Matter: Relevant to Myriad Case Appeal

At the Genomics Law Report from Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson in Swine Still Soaring: Federal Circuit Judge Expresses Sympathy for Myriad Analysis, John Conley and Allison Williams Dobson report that Federal Circuit Judge Timothy B. Dyk in his Intervet v. Merial dissent raises the cardinal question as to whether isolated DNA is patentable subject matter.

Dyk's dissent is important as a member of the Federal Circuit to whom the Myriad case has been appealed, challenging a ruling by Judge Robert W. Sweet in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, according to which an isolated DNA sequence is not patentable subject matter.

Given the ill-considered U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision in Bilski finding business methods to be patentable subject matter, we have become somewhat skittish and skeptical about what the courts will decide in this legal arena.

Our own view is that if a company isolates a particular DNA sequence and can figure out a way to commercially exploit that knowledge and know-how, more power to them, but we would never give them a patent for what is essentially a law of nature.

If a DNA sequence is "part" of any living organism, human, swine or otherwise, then why should any man-made enterprise be given a monopoly to exploit that particular God's work?

My understanding of the U.S. Constitution is that an inventive PRODUCT which encompasses such a DNA sequence could of course be patented, but not the DNA sequence itself. Why do the courts have such a hard time with this?

Crossposted from LawPundit.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bill Gates - What I'm Learning - The New Science of Feeding the World - The Gates Notes

Bill Gates - What I'm Learning - The New Science of Feeding the World - The Gates Notes
"Agricultural biotechnology is controversial but essential, Bill believes, to ease the plight of the 1 billion impoverished people who live with chronic hunger. He reviews a provocative book on the realities of farming today – and its future."

70% of Antibiotics in the USA are Fed to Healthy Livestock

The Spread of Superbugs

by Nicholas D. Kristof, March 7, 2010, at the New York Times Mobile
"A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that in the United States, 70 percent of antibiotics are used to feed healthy livestock, with 14 percent more used to treat sick livestock. Only about 16 percent are used to treat humans and their pets, the study found.

More antibiotics are fed to livestock in North Carolina alone than are given to humans in the entire United States, according to the peer-reviewed Medical Clinics of North America. It concluded that antibiotics in livestock feed were "a major component" in the rise of antibiotic resistance."

Friday, February 5, 2010

Genetic Privacy : Genetic Testing in New York : Newborn DNA Samples in Texas : German Genetic Diagnosis Act Went Into Effect on February 1, 2010

As reported in numerous German-language sources, the German Genetic Diagnosis Act (Gendiagnostikgesetz, GenDG) - English translation at eurogentest.org - took force on February 1, 2010. This law is of interest for many disciplines, especially in view of the recent "genetic privacy" decision in Texas and the pending passage of Katie's Law in New York.

A summary of the German law is found at DRZE - Predictive Genetic Testing - this is an excerpt:
"1. The German Genetic Diagnostics Act (GenDG)

... The German Genetic Diagnostics Act will come into effect on 1st February 2010 (§ 27).

The Act explicitly aims at defining the prerequisites for genetic testing and genetic analysis performed in the context of genetic testing, as well as for the use of genetic samples and data, and at preventing discrimination on grounds of genetic predisposition, in order to ensure the state's commitment to respect and to protect human dignity and the right to informational self-determination. (§ 1)

The scope of the Act is not limited to predictive genetic testing: it extends, in fact, to genetic testing carried out on (born) human beings (i.e. postnatal) as well as to genetic examination of embryos and foetuses (prenatal; see special provisions in § 15), covering different contexts and purposes of application (§ 2 para. 1). Besides the use of genetic testing for medical purposes, the Act regulates the use in the field of insurance (§ 18) and in working life (§§ 19-22), as well as genetic screenings (§ 16), and also covers tests to determine parentage ('paternity tests', §17). However, it does not address the use of genetic testing and analysis or the handling of genetic samples and data for research purposes (§ 2 para. 2 no. 1). Moreover, the Act does not apply to measures carried out under provisions relating to criminal proceedings, international mutual assistance in criminal matters, and the Federal Criminal Police Office Act (BKA-Gesetz) (§ 2 para. 2 no. 2 letter a), or relating to the Protection against Infection Act (IfSG) (§ 2 para. 2 no. 2 letter b)."
Read the full summary here and the full English translation of the text of the law here.

EuroGentest - What is EuroGentest?

EuroGentest - What is EuroGentest?
"EuroGentest is an EU-funded Network of Excellence (NoE) with 5 Units looking at all aspects of genetic testing - Quality Management, Information Databases, Public Health, New Technologies and Education. Through a series of initiatives EuroGentest encourages the harmonization of standards and practice in all these areas throughout the EU and beyond."

Friday, January 22, 2010

Venture Funding Moves from Clean Energy to Efficient Lighting and Energy-Management Software : Biotech Leads the Pack

Venture Funding Stabilizes, Shifts to Biotech, Shuns Energy - BusinessWeek

Biotech is on the rise as drug companies seek to offset expiring patents and as investments are being made in new technologies such as genome and cancer research. Less money is going into clean energy and more into projects for efficient lighting and energy-management software.

Tim Mullaney, January 22, 2010 (Bloomberg) , writes:
"Venture-capital funding for startup companies stabilized in the fourth quarter, with investor interest shifting toward drug development and away from clean energy....

Biotech was the largest industry for the quarter."

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