September 25, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Challenge could cancel Yamanaka iPS cell patent

Yamanaka Patent challengeA new patent dispute has exploded in the stem cell field related to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

What’s going on?

In 2006, Shinya Yamanaka reported cellular reprogramming to create mouse induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in Cell and the next year multiple groups along with Yamanaka’s reported creating human iPS cells.

It’s no exaggeration to say this was a blockbuster development for the cell and developmental biology fields and Yamanaka later went on to win the Nobel Prize for this discovery.

Another element to the iPS cell story is the intellectual property (IP) related to iPS cells.

There have been numerous IP claims and patents related to cellular reprogramming and iPS cells, but the dominant patent has been U.S. Patent No. 8,058,065 to Yamanaka et al. that was issued on November 15, 2011, which has been commonly known as the “Yamanaka Patent”.

The common perception in the stem cell/regenerative medicine field has been that the cellular reprogramming sector would be mostly dominated at the IP level by the Yamanaka Patent despite there being other patents in this arena.

However, I just learned of a serious challenge to the Yamanaka Patent, which could really turn things upside down. I predicted an iPS cell patent war back in a post this May. (2020 update: note that in the regenerative medicine space that the big patent dispute of recent years is over CRISPR).

The iPS cell patent challenge was filed by a mysterious entity called BioGatekeeper, Inc.

What is BioGatekeeper? Read on on Page 2!

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