Prometheus – Unbound or Not

November 3, 2011 (Mountain View, CA) – Michael Shuster, Co-Chair of the Life Sciences Group with Fenwick & West, was recently quoted in the Drug Discovery News article "Prometheus – Unbound or Not."

In December, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the highly anticipated case, Mayo v. Prometheus, with arguments focusing on the issue of whether abstract ideas or laws of nature are patentable. At issue in this case is a Prometheus testing kit, which allows doctors to determine effective dosing of immunosuppressive drugs based on a patient's reaction to testing. Prometheus has sued the Mayo Clinic for infringement of their patent on this testing kit, with Mayo claiming that the patent is invalid as it involves a body's natural reaction to dosing levels.

Prometheus prevailed in their arguments at the Circuit Court level, with the Court finding that the company's invention satisfied the "machine or transformation" test for patent eligibility, and the Mayo group unable to prove that the test was only an observation of a natural phenomenon.

Dr. Michael Shuster has filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the National Venture Capital Association in support of Prometheus' claims. Dr. Shuster says that the patent claims are "very specific, not preemptive."

From an economic perspective, Shuster says that a ruling in favor of Mayo would put all companion diagnostics in danger, setting off a chain reaction that might plausibly result in the movement of such testing offshore and a loss of competitiveness for the United States.

Click here to read the full Drug Discovery News article.