September 30, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Blog readers investigate BioGatekeeper, the Yamanaka patent challenger

Who is trying, via the name BioGatekeeper, Inc., to nullify Yamanaka’s patent on cellular reprogramming to produce induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells?

The readers of this blog never cease to amaze me. What an informed, energetic, bright group.

Within just days they may have collectively shed some light on an intriguing mystery in the stem cell field surrounding the question that started this post.

This past week the mysterious organization BioGatekeeper, Inc. filed a challenge to the Yamanaka Patent. The basis of the challenge is the assertion that cellular reprogramming was supposedly obvious based on pre-existing art, in this case meaning previous work and intellectual property (IP) on cellular reprogramming by others.

More specifically, BioGatekeeper focused on one other patent as the leverage for its argument to cancel the Yamanaka Patent: the Whitehead Institute Patent on reprogramming (aka The Whitehead Patent). The Whitehead Patent pre-dated Yamanaka’s. Like Yamanaka’s, the Whitehead Patent also focused on reprogramming of cells to pluripotency.

The Whitehead Institute has indicated that it has no involvement in BioGatekeeper.

A logical question then is why the people behind BioGatekeeper, whoever they might be, chose to focus on the Whitehead Patent as the driving force in their argument? That remains unclear at this time.

Who might be behind BioGatekeeper? The most logic candidates would be those who have been involved in cellular reprogramming over the years, particularly in the early days even before iPS cells. Read on on Page 2!

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