Who should own revolutionary gene editor CRISPR? Scientists or the public?

| | February 28, 2017
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

In a one sentence ruling, an appeals board granted the rights to the powerful gene editing technology CRISPR-Cas9 to the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, while leaving the door open for rival CRISPR pioneer UC Berkeley to file a new patent to lay claim to those same discoveries.

Why does this matter? While academic researchers can still use CRISPR for free, companies hoping to harness the gene editing tool to fight disease, solve agricultural problems, or for myriad other potential applications, may have to pay not one, but both institutions, a hefty fee. It’s a decision has caused some to some to wonder whether the rights to such revolutionary technology don’t really belong to a third party: the people.

[T]he non-profit group Knowledge Ecology International plans to file a request to the Department of Health and Human Services asking the federal government to step in and ensure that CRISPR remains accessible to anyone who wants to use it.

The group’s filing hinges on a 1980 law that says when research is funded by the federal government, as it was at both Berkeley and Broad, then the public can petition the government to “march-in” if patents are not being licensed on reasonable terms.

The petition is a long-shot. Since the law was enacted, the NIH…has never actually stepped in to officially intervene.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Should Anyone Own the Most Powerful Gene Editing Technology Ever Invented?

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