Court to Reconsider Gene Patents

A federal appeals court on Friday will reconsider whether isolated human genes can be patented, in a case that could reshape how biotechnology companies develop sophisticated screening tests and treatments for cancer and other diseases.

The hearing marks the latest legal twist in the fight over a series of Myriad Genetics Inc. patents relating to two genes. Mutations of the genes can signal that a woman faces greater risk of developing breast cancer or ovarian cancer. Myriad’s patents allow it to be the exclusive U.S. commercial provider of genetic screening tests for the diseases.

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