Universities Limiting Breast-Cancer Tests?
As the Supreme Court ruled recently that human genes couldn't be patented, Ambry Genetics began to offer tests for the BRCA gene, which has been connected to breast cancer. Myraid Genetics, another firm that held a de facto monopoly on BRCA tests, sued them—trying to argue around the Supreme Court ruling. According to The Washington Post, two universities, the University of Pennslyvania and the University of Utah Research Foundation, own BRCA-related patents licensed just to Myriad. The Post's Timothy B. Lee wonders why these universities are trying to force these cancer tests, which could save lives, off the market. The answer may be because universities are trying to generate revenue via “technology transfer” offices, “whose job it is to obtain patents based on university research and license them to private industry,” according to Lee.