U.S. medical groups are lining up this week against a biotech company in a rare federal court battle over whether a specific drug test can be patented. One side says the patents apply to aspects of the human metabolism that should not become private property. The other side says such patents are vital to foster further medical advances…On 5 August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., heard oral arguments in a case that pits Prometheus Laboratories in San Diego, California, against the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Prometheus runs a testing service that monitors responses to the drug azathioprine, which is used to treat autoimmune disorders. The Mayo Clinic wants to do the same kind of testing but doesn't have a relevant patent.
Science by Eliot Marshall, 08/2009