History of Biotech: How the “First” Biotech Patent Generated Millions

03/12/2015 - 5 minutes

The Cohen-Boyer patents were now issued 35 years ago at Stanford University… so what were they and how did they shape the Modern Biotechnology Field?

cohen-boyer-patents-genentech-stanford_logoRecombinant DNA (rDNA) products provided a new technology platform for a range of industries, resulting in over US$35 billion in sales for an estimated 2,442 new products.

After Genentech was founded and the industry was starting to establish itself, the monetization of biotech discovery and technology really started with the Cohen-Boyer patents… These are really what made the industry take of – by making research lucrative.

So during a collaboration between two US based scientists, enzymes were used to introduce specific DNA segments to plasmids, and then use the result as vehicles for cloning precise, previously targeted strands of DNA.

Within four months they had succeeded in cloning genetically engineered molecules in foreign cells – i.e. rDNA was born, and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 1973.

The 17 years during which the Cohen-Boyer patents were licensed,

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