Oregon’s bioscience sector is reacting Thursday to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that natural human genes cannot be patented.
The state has about 650 bioscience businesses that generated more than $3 billlion dollars in 2009.
Oregon’s bioscience sector employs almost 11,000 workers who make an average of $56,000 a year.
Oregon Bioscience Association lawyer, Michael Phillips, says the Supreme Court ruling has the potential to stop some of the research and development needed to find new cures and diagnostic tools.
Phillips said, “I suspect that there aren’t going to be a lot of companies in Oregon that this is going to have a profound impact on their business. I do think it probably has a potential chilling effect on for-profit companies doing research into these genes if they don’t see a way of creating a tool kit that they can ultimately recoup their research costs.”
The national Biotechnology Industry Organization issued a statement saying the ruling is a troubling departure from decades of judicial and trademark precedent. But it also welcomed the court’s ruling that DNA that’s been altered is eligible for patenting.