Thursday, September 28, 2006

FTCR: Wisconsin Governor's Stem Cell Announcement Acknowledges That WARF Patents Impede Cures, Harm Patients

To: National Desk

Contact: Jerry Flanagan of FTCR, 310-392-0522, ext.

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Sept. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ --
Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle's announcement today that
stem cell researchers working in Wisconsin will not
have to pay royalties to the Wisconsin Alumni Research
Foundation (WARF) amounts to an acknowledgment that
the WARF stem cell patents are a roadblock to cures
for patients everywhere, said the non-partisan
Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR).

The agreement announced today will not help to get
cures to patients because scientists must still seek
approval from WARF and pay royalties before selling
the cures or otherwise making them available to the
public. In July, FTCR filed challenges to the three
overreaching stem cell patents held by WARF that
significantly undermine research and waste taxpayer

"The agreement between Gov. Doyle and WARF is an
acknowledgment that the overly broad WARF patents
stymie research and delay cures. It is absurd that
WARF, or any organization, could own the rights to
life itself. For the good of patients, these patents
must be dissolved," said Jerry Flanagan of FTCR.

California voters approved the nation's largest
publicly funded stem cell research program in 2004
with Proposition 71 which allocated $3 billion in
grants over the next 10 years. For an overview of
state stem cell programs and pending legislation go

FTCR said the patents' dubious validity is underscored
by the fact that no other country in the world honors
them. As a result, U.S. researchers have sent research
monies abroad where they can avoid paying royalties to
WARF. Already, the Juvenile Diabetes Research
Foundation has funded scientists in other countries
and calls the WARF patents a "major inhibition to
productive scientific research."

The patent challenges filed by FTCR and the Public
Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) call on the United States
Patent and Trademark Office to reexamine and revoke
three patents that give the rights to all human
embryonic stem cells used for research to WARF.

The patents resulted from University of Wisconsin
researcher James Thomson's work to isolate stem cells.
The basis of the challenges is that the patents on
human embryonic stem cells should not have been
granted in the first place, because the previous work
of other scientists made the derivation of human
embryonic stem cells obvious and therefore
unpatentable. Dr. Jeanne Loring, a stem cell scientist
and renowned authority on stem cell research,
submitted a declaration in the support of the patent

"These patents should have never been issued in the
first place," said Dr. Loring of the Burnham Institute
for Medical Research. "The real invention was made 25
years ago, when embryonic stem cells were first
discovered - and the scientists who discovered them
didn't expect a payoff. James Thomson just followed a
recipe written by other scientists, and there's
nothing patentable about that."

Read Loring's three declarations supporting the
challenges at:

FTCR and PUBPAT filed challenges against three patents
previously granted to WARF:

-- One patent on all primate embryonic stem cells,
including humans, issued in 1998 (Patent No.
5,843,780). Read the FTCR & PUBPAT challenge at:

-- A second, specifically on human cells, granted in
2001 (Patent No. 6,200,806). Read the FTCR & PUBPAT
challenge at:

-- And a third on human cells issued in April of 2006
(Patent No. 7,029,913). Read the FTCR & PUBPAT
challenge at:


FTCR is a leading nonpartisan consumer advocacy
organization. For more information, visit us on the
web at


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/


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