Embracing Open-Source Biotech: DNA Freeware May Out-Innovate Patented Genes

Carole Jacques | Lux Research | August 28, 2013

With synthetic biology (synbio) rapidly gaining momentum, and a landmark U.S. Supreme Court judgment striking down an age-old biological patenting system, biotechnology companies need to incorporate open-source into their innovation plans in order to succeed in the emerging landscape, according to Lux Research.

...Alternatives to patents, like open-source computer code, standard protocols like GSM and HTML, and modular software have transformed information technology and accelerated product innovation in the space. Similarly, open-source genetic codes, such as modular DNA sequences, could hasten to market better drugs, bio-based materials and useful organisms.

"Despite its evident rise, the open-source biology movement should not be seen as an alternative to conventional R&D or an enemy of IP," said Mark Bünger, Lux Research Director and the lead author of the report titled, "BioPunks and BioPatents: The Open-source Battle Comes to Synbio IP."

"In fact, corporations should pursue upstream innovations with conventional suppliers, licensors and M&A targets, while using a mix of corporate and academic partners, and the open-source community for earlier-stage research," he added.