My Great Grandma and Personalised Medicine

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My great-grandmother died at the age of 93 in 1989. She irritated her GP by choosing only a part of the medication he prescribed.

She used to say: 'I feel this medicine is not good for me; that one is much better. I cannot say exactly why, but it is so.'

It seems that my great-grandmother was a pioneer of a new style of treatment, so called personalised medicine. In Europe, at least, the law has developed in a way that is favourable to patent applicants in the field of personalised medicine. The European Patent Office (EPO) has long recognised that a newly-discovered medical use of a known agent is patentable over the earlier use of the same agent. Through successive decisions of the Boards of Appeal (T836/01; T1642/06), this principle has developed to the point where identifying a new class of patient treatable using a known drug constitutes patentable subject matter.

Vanda Pichova, MSc.

European Patent Attorney

Article Published May 6, 2014