Oxford BioMedica chief seeks to calm fears over patents

Oxford Biomedica, the gene therapy group, yesterday broke the UK biotechnology sector's silence on Bill Clinton and Tony Blair's intervention in the gene patenting debate, which has sent shares in the sector tumbling in the last two days.

The company issued a statement seeking to reassure shareholders that comments on Tuesday by Mssrs Clinton and Blair that gene discoveries should not be patented were no threat to its future.

The statement said: "In general, discoveries cannot, and we believe should not, be patented. However, if one takes a discovery and uses it to make a product, the product is a patentable invention. This was clearly endorsed by President Clinton and Tony Blair."

In spite of the statement, Oxford BioMedica's shares closed down 7p at 84.5p.

The company is a pioneer in the field of gene therapy. It uses discoveries in genomics - the mapping of the human genome - to develop proteins which are injected into the body to stimulate genes to perform particular functions. These include genes that kill tumours and stop the replication of HIV, the virus that causes Aids.

Professor Alan Kingsman, Oxford BioMedica's chief executive, said: "I'm not sure Clinton and Blair said anything too bad. It's the way it's been interpreted that's the problem. They recognise the importance of intellectual property rights as a spur to developing new medicines. No new medicine would be developed without a patent to protect it."

He said he issued the statement in response to anxious calls from confused shareholders. "We're a gene-based company - if we weren't going to put the record straight, who would?"

Professor Kingsman said the company already had patents on all the genes it needed for product development for the foreseeable future.

He added: "Ninety per cent of the value of the UK biotechnology sector doesn't lie in things that come out of the Human Genome Project."

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Training/Learning and Development Coordinator -London

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Training/Learning and Development Co...

Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

.NET Software Developer (.NET, C#, ASP.NET, front-end)

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organi...

C# Web developer (C#,MVC,ASP.NET,SQL)

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: C# Web d...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried