The following is an edited excerpt.
The question before the U.S. Supreme Court is whether Myriad Genetics, a Utah-based biotech company, can enforce the patents it secured on two human genes during the 1990s. The genes—BRCA1 and BRCA2—foster breast and ovarian cancer when they carry certain mutations, and Myriad markets tests that women can use to determine their own risk.
No one disputes the company’s exclusive right to the tests it developed. But by staking a claim to the BRCA genes themselves, Myriad has impounded a piece of our biology. Is this the legitimate exercise of intellectual property rights, as Myriad and its industry believe?
Read the full story here: Will Supreme Court decide companies can own human genes?