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Saturday, December 16, 2000

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find related articles. powered by google. The Street Biotech Today, Part 2: Is the Human Genome Land Grab Over?
"For years, Dr. J. Craig Venter has been saying that the human genome probably had fewer than 60,000 genes. Heck, Dr. C. nailed most of them when he worked in partnership with Human Genome Sciences (which said back in 1996 that they'd found 96% of the human genes). Now Eric Lander of the famed Whitehead Institute at M.I.T. --- a man who has had his differences with Craig --- has also come out and said that there are fewer than 50,000 genes in the human genome.

The fact that these words have been on the airwaves for years doesn't mean that most investors have heard them. (The axiom "there are 100,000 genes in the human genome" has been pretty deeply drilled into a lot of our brains.) So at our shop, we've been proceeding under the assumption that the big genome land grab happened years ago but a large number of investors haven't noticed that fact. We also assume that most of what will transpire over the next few years will be lawsuits and cross-licensing: We refer to it as the coming "litigation conflagration."

What I'm thinking through at the moment are the implications: Specifically, how will investors react when a critical mass of them realize there are fewer than 50,000 genes -- and most of them are already spoken for?"
redux [04.26.00]
find related articles. powered by google. Signals Homestead 2000: The Genome
""The analogy that I would use is that of a minefield," said Bob Levy, senior VP of science and technology for American Home Products. "We are spending an incredible amount of time now, when we find exciting targets and begin to validate them, in trying to define who has rights to what. And we're finding, in almost every product that we look at, that someone has patented the protein, the gene, a fragment, a diagnostic test." Levy noted that untangling patent rights, and determining which patents are dominant, are increasingly time-consuming and expensive tasks. And patent-holders must be paid. "The royalties that will be involved soon in some of the products that we are bringing to market, they're already up into the ten, fourteen, fifteen percent [range]," said Levy. "And that may increase with time.""

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Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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