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Food for thought with Dr. Nick Rasmussen

"On Slicing an Obvious Salami Thinly: Science, Patent Case Law, and the Fate of the Early Biotech Sector in the Making of Epo"
When Apr 08, 2013
from 12:00 PM to 01:30 PM
Where SSH1246
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In this paper, I reconstruct in previously unavailable detail the 1980s race to clone and market what would be biotechnology’s most important product to date, erythropoietin or Epo, and follow that scientific contest into the courts deciding competing patent claims to the natural protein drug.  I argue that through case law in the new domain of recombinant DNA, the US courts imposed a de facto policy that shaped the business and scientific environment of small biotechnology firms so as to narrow research effort and assimilate the sector to the established pharmaceutical industry.  I further contend not only that alternative dispensations in patent law were possible at the time, but that the public’s interest might have been better served.


Dr. Rasmussen is Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of New South Wales. His research and writing includes work on the history, sociology and policy issues related to medical and biological sciences; the histories of drug abuse, pharmaceutical industry and clinical research; and environmental history, especially relating to twentieth century agricultural science and technology. He has published three major books including Gene Jockeys: Life Science and the Rise of Biotech (Johns Hopkins University Press, in press); On Speed: The Many Lives of Amphetamine (New York University Press, 2008); and Picture Control: The Electron Microscope and the Transformation of Biology in America, 1940-1960 (Stanford University Press, 1997).

Lunch will be provided*. Please RSVP here: http://tinyurl.com/NickRasmussen

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Science and Innovation Studies and the Program in Science and Technology Studies.

*Note this is our food for thought format where everyone is asked to read a paper ahead of time. If you need a copy of the paper and did not receive it, please email Aaron Norton (atnorton@ucdavis.edu)

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