Up Next in Gene Patents: Waiting for a Ruling (Again) and SACGHS Meets (Again)

GenomeWeb has a recap of today’s hearing in the Myriad case, including the not-at-all-surprising decision that there was no summary judgment decision issued from the bench. From all accounts the case appears to have been argued along the lines set forward by the parties in their briefs, with no obvious surprises presented by either party during oral argument. As for a decision, according to GenomeWeb, “Judge Sweet did not say today when he expects to make a decision in the case.” Interested observers, including the Genomics Law Report, can expect to wait some time – at least several weeks, if not months – before a decision is handed down. That decision, no matter which way it falls, is likely to produce an appeal to the Second Circuit.

In the meantime, those that simply cannot get enough of the gene patent debate are reminded that the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society (SACGHS) is convening again this week to finalize its report on biotechnology patent and licensing policy. As previously reported by the GLR, the last SACGHS meeting reviewed and approved several recommendations (pdf) from its Gene Patents and Licensing Task Force, including proposed exemptions from liability for infringing patents when (i) making, using, ordering, or selling tests for patient care purposes or (ii) “in the pursuit of research.”

While the SACGHS approved the recommendations, final review and approval of the Committee’s report on Gene Patents and Licensing Practices and Their Impact on Patient Access to Genetic Tests was tabled until the February meeting. The recommendations and the draft report generated some pushback last fall so, Friday morning, the Committee will be reviewing those additional comments and “coming to closure” (pdf) on the report. The GLR will be listening in. Interested readers can find information about the SACGHS meeting here.