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Patenting non-invasive tests for Down’s syndrome

Posted in Business, Diagnostic testing, Scientific research, Screening by Matt at WelcometoIllinois on December 4, 2008

I have previously written about two new non-invasive diagnostic tests for Down’s syndrome. One created by a company called Sequenom after research at the Chinese University in Hong Kong, and the other under development at Stanford University.

GenomeWeb is reporting that both teams have claimed patents related to their research (the article is available for subscribers, but a cached copy of of the report is available here), and that a company called Fluidigm has secured co-exclusive licenses to the Stanford researchers’ inventions.

If I know anything about intellectual property and business (and I know a little bit) then it would seem likely that these two groups will be at loggerheads over the patents for some time to come.

Given the apparent accuracy of their research I hope business interests do not slow down the development of diagnostic testing techniques that replace less accurate screening procedures. Given it is estimated that the Down syndrome testing market is worth at least $1bn it seems inevitable that they will, however.

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  1. […] is not the only company developing new non-invasive testing techniques. I previously wrote about similar testing technology under development at Stanford University being licensed to a […]


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