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Letters
June 15, 2005

Biotechnology Products and University-Based Science—Reply

Author Affiliations
 

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2005;293(23):2861-2863. doi:10.1001/jama.293.23.2863-a

In Reply: These letters illustrate the challenges in reconciling the interests of university researchers, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, and the public. We agree with Dr Lempert that the public interest mission of universities must be preserved. We must not strip these delicate institutions of the special values that set universities apart from corporations. But it still should be possible to enable universities to benefit from the fruits of their research in order to support that very mission. Mr Sobolski notes the poverty of most academic technology licensing programs (we agree), and cites the concept of a patent-free approach to innovation as 1 possible solution to these difficulties. However, we believe that the biomedical industry would likely not participate in such a system, even if universities did. As a result, the new set of winners would be these companies’ stockholders, while the new set of losers would be most academic researchers.

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