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John Funnell

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Fighting talk unites Pharma

50 visionaries gathered for the Supreme Court verdict against Myriad Genetics

The NGP union, held in the Netherlands last week saw over 50 visionaries gathered for the Supreme Court verdict against Myriad Genetics given on March 29th. They voted against their patent claims and a storm is brewing in the biotech community.  The Court ruled that the patents should have never been granted because genes are “a law of nature.”  With the majority of industry outsiders in agreement, how will pharmaceutical world reacted?


Now the NGP US summit (held by GDS International) has been called for the end of the month in Arizona. Jerry Lanchbury, EVP of Myriad Genetics will lead a discussion looking at the decision and the obvious effects it has given with Myriads Stock prices tumbling.


On ‘decision day’ Myriad saw its stocks fall by as much as 7% when patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer were revoked.  The company remains confident that the verdict will not have a material impact on its operations, and with 160 remaining patents unchallenged they are confident in the company’s future. But are we to believe the PR Hype? The recent annulment of a company’s ability to hold patents over human genes does not just affect Myriad hence why Jeffery will be joined by such esteemed colleagues as Earl Sands, VP Research and Development Abbott Laboratories, Karen Smith, Global Product VP, AstraZeneca,  Darrell Abernethy, Associate Director for Drug Safety, FDA and Steve Romano, VP and Medical Affairs Head of Primary Care Business Unit, Pfizer , who expect heated debates from typically competitive companies now fighting the common enemy.


Pharmaceutical Patenting has been a bone of contention between the industry and consumer for some time.  Monopolistic policies do not work in favor of the general public. Those companies, such as Myriad, who own patents related to genes, will be able to control costs ultimately leading to increased consumer prices.  From an industry perspective, without patenting a company is unable to cover the costs of research and development of key drugs and groundbreaking pharmaceutical advancements in medicine, this ‘swing and roundabout’ approach to business has lead to the birth of this key gathering - NGP US Summit.


With the first round over, and a ruling in favor of the consumer, the industry is preparing for more appeals.  With the battle won the question begged to be asked is who will win the war?

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John Funnell has worked in online media for over ten years, after achieving his First Class BSC Hons Degree (BBC Sponsored), John won Bos 18-21 Princess Trust Entrepeneur of the year at 21, setting up Clean Living Records Ltd (including www.BeatReview.com) with great success having many acts that charted in Europe and Canada. After selling the business John looked for a new challenge and joined GDS International, having a successful career in sales and Delegate acquisition, he worked up to Event Director EMEA, forging contacts with some of the biggest technology names in the world, this lead to John having a lead role in the creation of MeettheBoss.com and MeettheBoss.tv – the worlds largest business IPTV channel. John then took over as Marketing and Communications Director and ran a multifaceted global Marketing team for GDS International in New York, Sydney, Kuala Lumper and the UK.. John joined Global in 2011 with the challenge of supporting its growth by developing a solid Marketing foundation through various Digital, PR and brand initiatives.