News Analysis
Future Biologics
Fighting Malaria
Open-Source Biotech
Drug Price Controls
Profile: Jonas Frisén
Investor Profile
Case Studies
Photo Essay: Baghdad
Editor's Letter

Columbia�s Lesson?

The ivory tower and the marketplace have more to lose than gain in the battle over intellectual property.

A group of life sciences companies, including Biogen, Genzyme, and the pharmaceutical giant Abbot Laboratories, filed suit in mid-July in a Boston federal court against Columbia University over a lucrative recombinant DNA patent that has added hundreds of millions of dollars to the school�s coffers since 1983. The patent, based on an invention by cell biologist Richard Axel, M.D., is based on a technique that allows researchers to assay cells that have taken up a desired piece of DNA. The method, called “cotransformation,” is used in nearly every molecular biology laboratory. Columbia University, the companies allege, imitated a common industrial practice, modifying its patent with “distinct and different” twists to extend its income-bearing years—a strategy called “evergreening.”

News Analysis

SARS Sequel?

False Positives

Morality Play

A Bitter Pill

Stress Test

Rare Opportunity

Show and Tell

Joint by Joint


» Columbia�s Lesson?

Briefly Noted