Oxford BioMedica chief seeks to calm fears over patents
Friday 17 March 2000
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."
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
- 4 Jozef Wesołowski: Former Catholic archbishop found dead ahead of child sexual abuse trial
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus address Robin Thicke VMA controversy: ‘He wanted me as naked as possible, but I got the heat because I’m a woman’
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...