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About the Biotech & Pharma Industries & Human Biotechnology


The fast-growing biotech industry is playing a dominant role in shaping the development, marketing and use of human biotechnologies. Like the pharmaceutical industry, it profits by developing products aimed at treating disease and restoring health. Although some biotech products and activities are socially and ethically controversial, the industry as a whole tends to oppose public oversight and regulation.

This situation is complicated by increasingly blurred lines between private biotechnology companies and university researchers, between perceptions of serving the public interest and the profit imperatives of private enterprise, and between research and commercialization.

In recent decades, the US Congress has enacted policies that allow controversial patents (such as those on gene sequences and human tissues), and that encourage closer university-corporate relations. These policies have led to a rapid commercialization of biology and medicine, and to a significant number of university-based researchers with financial ties to private companies. Such arrangements allow them to maintain the appearance of serving the public interest while pursuing careers in the private sector.

Private industry is an important player in the development of human biotechnologies. But the lack of a financially independent counterweight like the one that public universities used to provide makes effective oversight and responsible regulation imperative. Given the impact of the biotech industry on public debate, public policy, and all of our lives, its interests must be transparent.



Turning back the biological clock comes at a price by Rhiannon Lucy CosslettThe GuardianJuly 25th, 2016Egg freezing is marketed as the answer to precarious young lives yet excludes most of those it claims to help.
Should we pay women to donate their eggs for research? No, and here's why.[citing CGS’ Marcy Darnovsky, fellow Lisa Ikemoto]by Michael HiltzikThe Los Angeles TimesJuly 22nd, 2016The risks of egg retrieval, particularly long-term risks, are not yet understood due to a lack of studies.
Chinese scientists to pioneer first human CRISPR trialby David CyranoskiNature NewsJuly 21st, 2016Gene-editing technique to treat lung cancer is due to be tested in people in August.
Is transhumanism really the world’s most dangerous idea?by Michael CookMercatornetJuly 20th, 2016Transhumanism has a range of beliefs and goals, including anti-aging and a heightened relationship between humans and technology.
Nudging patients into clinical trialsby Bradley J. FikesThe San Diego Union-TribuneJuly 20th, 2016Incentives include money and rewards such as iPads.
Gene Therapy Trial Wrenches Families as One Child’s Death Saves Anotherby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJuly 20th, 2016New DNA fix stops brain-destroying terminal illness, but only if it’s given early enough.
Fertility doc Antinori indictedASNAJuly 20th, 2016Antinori is charged with forcibly removing eggs from a patient.
I.V.F. Does Not Raise Breast Cancer Risk, Study Showsby Catherine Saint LouisThe New York TimesJuly 19th, 2016While the study is large and comprehensive, its results remain inconclusive and contradict other studies.
Recruiter Matchtech changes name to Gattaca - same as the hit Hollywood movie about eugenicsby Alan ToveyThe TelegraphJuly 18th, 2016The company claims they did not even consider the connection to the film when they chose the new name.
How Do You Regulate the Digital Health Revolution?by Laura EntisFortuneJuly 18th, 2016Digital health apps and other startups may claim to be more effective than they actually are.
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