Judge Nixes Down Syndrome Test

A federal judge in California struck down the patent for a non-invasive way of testing if a fetus has Down Syndrome, dealing a blow to the biotechnology company Sequenom. The judge said the patent was invalid because it covered a natural phenomenon: fetal DNA in a mother’s blood. The ruling came after the Supreme Court ruled in June that human DNA cannot be patented, and suggests the law is turning against companies looking to profit from DNA-based diagnostic tests. Sequenom’s stock fell 23 percent after the ruling, and the company said it plans to appeal.