Challenge of Yamanaka Patent by BioGatekeeper Fails

The still mysterious BioGatekeeper had challenged Yamanaka’s IPS cell patent claiming that it was obvious. The potential implications were huge given the commercial interest in translating IPS cell technology. For background see here, here, and here. There’s pretty much zero information on BioGatekeeper otherwise.

Despite the potential seriousness of this patent challenge, just a few days ago the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) denied the challenge so for all intents and purposes BioGatekeeper’s effort is dead. A big hat tip to reader Shinsakan.

BioGatekeeper

You can read the decision here. More information is available here (input case # IPR2014-01286 to get the search results).

Notably coverage of BioGatekeeper on this blog was cited by Kyoto University attorneys: go to page 2 of search records when you get your results from the search above and you can see the blog cited 3 times by Kyoto University.

Overall, this new material is also notable as it suggests that Kyoto believed that Rongxiang Xu (and MEBO International) was involved in BioGatekeeper as previously rumored, but the answers given by the BioGatekeeper legal team (see document here) don’t seem to support that notion. Still, the identity of BioGatekeeper as well as the person Jonathan Zhu, named as its owner, remain nebulous.

Regardless of who BioGatekeeper might be, at this point it would seem their effort to challenge Yamanaka’s patent is at an end barring some unexpected turn of events. This more concretely solidifies the strength of the Yamanaka patent.

Blog readers investigate BioGatekeeper, the Yamanaka patent challenger

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 this question:

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

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!