Editors' ChoiceBiotechnology

Is NF-κB Patent Too Broad?

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Science's STKE  30 Jul 2002:
Vol. 2002, Issue 143, pp. tw270-TW270
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.143.tw270

News reporter P. Brickley highlights controversy surrounding a patent recently issued to David Baltimore and other researchers associated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, and Harvard University. The patent covers therapeutic applications of methods that control signaling through the transcription factor NF-κB. The patented procedures have been licensed to Ariad Pharmaceuticals, and a copy of the patent is available on Ariad's Web site (www.ariad.com). Researcher Sankar Ghosh and unnamed patent lawyers are quoted in the article expressing concerns that the patent is overly broad and could inhibit even academic research on this key signaling pathway. Ariad sued Eli Lilly and Co. for infringement of the patent within hours of its issuance, but chief executive Harvey Berger indicates that Ariad does not intend to initiate action against academic projects that are not connected to commercial sponsors.

P. Brickley, New patent worries professors. The Scientist 16, 19 (2002). [Online Journal]

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