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经济学人:生物技术专利 对人下药

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Business Biotech patents Taking it personally

商业 生物技术专利 对人下药
A legal fight over a new generation of medicine
新一代药品的法律纠纷
DRUG research is in dark times, as pipelines dry up and development budgets are cut.
但有一束光带来了一线希望。
But one shaft of light pierces the gloom.
随着新药品种开发减少,药品的研发资金缩减,药品研究正处于黑暗时期。
"Personalised medicine" promises to craft drugs for individuals.
"个性化药品"承诺为个人定制药品。
Genetic tests will identify those who will benefit from specific medicines.
基因测试将识别出那些从特制药品中获益的人。
Treatment will be more effective; waste will drop.
从而加强治疗效果;降低浪费水平。
Personalised medicine has sparked excitement among drugmakers, doctors, hospitals and patients.
个性化药品让制药商、医生和病人均欣喜若狂。
It has also sparked a legal brawl.
这也引发了法律纠纷。
On December 7th America's Supreme Court heard arguments in Mayo v Prometheus.
2011年12月7日美国高等法院听取了梅奥V普罗米修斯的辩论。
The suit, despite a name that suggests an ancient liver sandwich, may be crucial for biotechnology firms.
这一诉讼虽然以暗示古代肝三明治的名义进行,但是对于生物公司来说至关重要。
America is the world's hub for drug research.
美国是全球药品研究中心。
By definition, personalised medicine includes the study of genetic mutations and other personal characteristics.
按定义,定制药品包括对于基因突变的研究和其他个性化特征。
However, American law bars patents of nature and abstract ideas.
但是美国的法律禁止给自然和抽象的概念颁发专利。
The question is which discoveries in personalised medicine may be patented.
问题在于个性化药品的哪一种发现可能授予专利。
Prometheus is part of a series of suits over biotech patents.
普罗米修斯公司是陷入一系列生物技术专利权之争的公司之一。
Courts have been active because Congress has not.
因国会无动于衷,法庭便积极地应对。
A recent patent reform provided little clarity.
最近的专利改革提供模棱两可的解释。
Congress merely ordered a study of genetic testing.
国会仅是指示对基因测试进行研究。
Judges have been bolder: in July a federal court ruled that genes could be patented.
法官们是更加的大胆:7月份联邦法庭裁决基因可获得专利。
On December 7th the suit's losers appealed to the Supreme Court.
12月7日该案件的败诉方上诉至最高法院。
But Prometheus may have greater practical import, says Hans Sauer of the Biotechnology Industry Organisation (BIO), a trade group.
生物科技产业组织(BIO)的汉斯.萨奥尔说,但普罗米修斯案可能实际起的作用更大。
Firms are studying genetic correlations that might predict a drug's efficacy or determine the cause of a disease.
研究遗传相关的公司可能预计到药品的功效或决定疾病的缘由。
Prometheus may determine whether methods using such correlations may be patented.
普罗米修斯案可能裁定使用这种相关方法是否能授予专利。
The fight has attracted the heavyweights of health care.
这场官司吸引了卫生保健业重量级人物的眼球。
On one side is Prometheus Laboratories, a Californian company that has patented a way to optimise certain drug treatments for individuals.
一方是因优化某种个性化药物治疗的方法获得专利的加州普罗米修斯公司,
On the other is the Mayo Clinic, a health and research centre.
另一方是健康研究中心,梅奥诊所。
Prometheus's supporters include BIO and several tech firms.
普罗米修斯公司的支持者包括BIO和几个高科技公司。
Roche and Abbott, two big drugmakers, gave warning against invalidating patents on diagnostic tests.
两大医药巨头罗氏制药和雅培公司对诊断试验专利无效提出了警告。
Mayo's allies include the American Medical Association.
梅奥的联盟包括美国医学协会。
The patents in question do not concern genetic tests, though the suit's outcome will affect them.
对于专利权的争议与基因测试无关,尽管这一案件的审理结果会影响到基因测试。
They concern tests for the effectiveness of thiopurines, drugs that have long been used to treat gastrointestinal disorders such as Crohn's disease.
他们关心的是巯基嘌呤是否适当的测试。巯基嘌呤是一直用来治疗胃肠道功能失调如克罗恩病的药物。
Their effect depends on how they are metabolised.
该药物的是否有效取决于其是如何新陈代谢的。
Neither thiopurines nor tests for metabolites (substances produced by metabolism) were new when Prometheus's patents were filed in 1998.
在普罗米修斯公司申请专利时不管是巯基嘌呤还是代谢物(由新陈代谢引起的物质)的测试都不是什么新鲜事物。
But the patents cover the process for determining whether a given dose produces concentrations of metabolites within a recommended range.
但是这一专利包括决定是否给定的药物剂量在推荐范围内能产生大量的代谢物过程。
The dose of thiopurines could be adjusted accordingly.
巯基嘌呤的剂量可以随之调整过来。
Prometheus sells a test based on its patents to hospitals and clinics.
普罗米修斯公司因测试方法申请了专利权而将其卖给医院和诊所。
In 2004 Mayo developed a competing test, with different recommended levels of metabolites.
2004年梅奥研制出了有竞争力的测试,对代谢物使用不同的推荐指数。
Prometheus sued.
普罗米修斯公司以此状告梅奥诊所。
Mayo's lawyers say Prometheus has patented a mere observation of the body's natural workings.
梅奥的律师说普罗米修斯公司申请的仅仅是观察人体自然运行的专利。
Let the claim stand, Mayo argues, and firms will win broad patents over basic biological relationships, stifling innovation.
梅奥辩道,若让普罗米修斯公司胜诉,公司将超越基本的生物基础而获得广泛意义的专利权从而阻碍创新。
Prometheus and its allies warn of an alternative apocalypse.
普罗米修斯公司和其联盟则警告这是另一场大灾难。
A judgment in Mayo's favour, they contend, will undermine existing patents and shrivel investment in personalised medicine.
偏向于梅奥的支持方争辩道这将破坏现有的专利及导致对个性化药品的投资减少。
The Supreme Court may not make such a broad judgment.
最高法院可能不会做出广泛的评判。
It may instead hand down a narrower ruling that leaves many questions unanswered.
相反,最高法院有可能将采用较小范围的裁定使得许多问题悬而未决。
A natural phenomenon may not be patented, but which applications of that phenomenon might be?
自由现象有可能不会授予专利,但是自然现象的哪种应用属于专利范围呢?
When studying genetic correlations, which so-called discoveries are truly novel?
在研究遗传相关的命题时,哪一种所谓的发现是真的新鲜出炉?
Eventually personalised medicine may transform patients' care and firms' business models.
最终个性化药品可能转变病人的护理和企业的经营模式。
In the near future, the greatest beneficiaries may be patent lawyers.
在不久的将来,最大的的受益者将是打专利权官司的律师。

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关键字: 生物 技术 专利

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