Center for Law and Biomedical Sciences to Host November 1 Symposium on Gene Patenting

The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law’s Center for Law and Biomedical Sciences focuses on new developments in the biosciences, including genetics and personalized medicine, biomedical informatics, cognitive sciences, and neuroscience. On November 1 from 12:15 — 3:00 p.m., the Center, along with the Health Law Section of the Utah State Bar, will host a roundtable at the College of Law titled “A Delicate Balance of Innovation and Access: The Future of Gene Patenting after Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. Myriad Genetics, Inc. et al.”, a case that invalidated some but not all of the patents on two genes implicated in breast cancer.  In the interview below, Professor Leslie Francis, the Center’s Director, discusses the upcoming event, which, in addition to Francis, also includes participants Ken Chahine, D. Brian Dawson, Benjamin Jackson, Wendy Kohlmann, Elaine Lyon, John Mejia, and Amelia Rinehart.

Click here for more details about the symposium, including participant bios.

How did the Center decide on this topic for its fall public event?  

The case is complicated, highly significant, and of great local interest.  We thought with our interdisciplinary approach that we were uniquely position to bring together people with different expertise and perspectives to explain what the case did (and did not) hold.


What does the Center hope will be the outcome of this event?  

 We hope that the program will explain the many facets of the Myriad decision and will help people understand what the decision portends for the future of gene patenting and patient care.

Aside from the College of Law community, who is the event targeting as an audience?  

Lawyers in the community, patient advocates, scientists, health care professionals with interests in the impact of the decision.

What other programs or projects is the Center working on?  

This is our fall public event. We will also be co-sponsoring a symposium on transparency and secrecy in the spring, with a speaker about transparency in pharmaceutical trials. We are also engaged in a variety of student and faculty research projects and we are sponsoring a pro bono legal clinic at the South Main Clinic

Any other thoughts you would like to add?  

I hope people come and learn from the event.