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US Supreme Court to decide whether human genes are patentable

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myriad ruling stock 1020
myriad ruling stock 1020

The United States Supreme Court will be taking another look at a previous ruling that granted Myriad Genetics, Inc. patents on two gene mutations that are tied to hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. The original decision that declared that genes can be patentable was upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in August. The highly controversial ruling grants Myriad Genetics, Inc. the right to be the exclusive owner of screening methods pertaining to the diseases, preventing the use of any alternative screening procedures.

"Are human genes patentable?"

The ACLU, who are helping to represent the Association for Molecular Pathology and College of American Pathologists in the case, requested that the Supreme Court take up the case after the Court of Appeals ruling. The petition asked the court to review three different parts of the case, though the Supreme Court's short ruling said that it would limit discussion to the first — and clearly most important — question presented in the petition, "are human genes patentable?" Sandra Park, a lawyer for the ACLU, told Reuters that the decision to take the case was a "huge step" and Myriad's stock took a hit on the news. Oral arguments are expected in March with a decision most likely coming in June.