Saturday, August 02, 2008

Patent angle at bottom of anthrax scare?

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Bruce E. Ivins, the government biodefense scientist linked to the deadly anthrax mailings of 2001, stood to gain financially from massive federal spending in the fear-filled aftermath of those killings, the Los Angeles Times has learned.

Ivins is listed as a co-inventor on two patents for a genetically engineered anthrax vaccine, federal records show. Separately, Ivins also is listed as a co-inventor on an application to patent an additive for various biodefense vaccines.

HOWEVER, the New York Times noted:

Almost $50 billion in federal money has been spent since 2001 to build new laboratories, develop vaccines and stockpile drugs.

Patents Dr. Ivins held on the research might have proved personally profitable. An anthrax vaccine he helped invent was slated to be added to the nation’s vaccine stockpile through an $877 million contract awarded in 2004. But the deal collapsed in late 2006 after the contractor, VaxGen of Brisbane, Calif., failed to meet deadlines. VaxGen, in a licensing agreement with the Army to produce the vaccine, had listed two patents held by Dr. Ivins and his colleague, but it made no mention of compensation planned for their work.

The New York Times raised the issue of the US having "too many" scientists in the area -->

But the revelation that F.B.I. investigators believe that the anthrax attacks were carried out by Dr. Ivins, an Army biodefense scientist who committed suicide last week after he learned that he was about to be indicted for murder, has already re-ignited a debate: Has the unprecedented boom in biodefense research made the country less secure by multiplying the places and people with access to dangerous germs?

“We are putting America at more risk, not less risk,” said Representative Bart Stupak, Democrat of Michigan, chairman of a House panel that has investigated recent safety lapses at biolabs.

This is ripe for Law & Order.

***Separately, with all the boom in the area, Ivins was able to publish many scientific papers-->

Ivins was among the scientists who benefited from this surge, as 14 of the 15 academic papers he published since late 2001 were focused on possible anthrax treatments or vaccines, comparing the effectiveness of different formulations. He even worked on the investigation of the anthrax accounts, although this meant that he, like other scientists at the army's defensive biological laboratory at Fort Detrick was scrutinized as a possible suspect. [from the IHT] Ivins had a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati.

***Also, from>

Social worker Jean C. Duley filed handwritten court documents last week saying she was preparing to testify before a grand jury. She said Ivins would be charged with five capital murders.

"Client has a history dating to his graduate days of homicidal threats, plans and actions towards therapists," Duley said, adding that his psychiatrist had described him as homicidal and sociopathic.

Several U.S. officials said prosecutors had been focusing on the 62-year-old Ivins and planned to seek an indictment and the death penalty. There was talk of a plea deal that would have instead sent Ivins to prison for life. Ivins' lawyer was open to discuss the deal but his client killed himself before an agreement could be reached, one official said.

The officials all discussed the continuing investigation on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Ivins' lawyer, Paul F. Kemp, asserted the scientist's innocence and said he had cooperated with investigators for more than a year.

"We are saddened by his death, and disappointed that we will not have the opportunity to defend his good name and reputation in a court of law," Kemp said.

Maryland's chief medical examiner, Dr. David Fowler, confirmed Saturday that Ivins died Tuesday morning at Frederick, Md., Memorial Hospital; that the cause of death was found to be an overdose of acetaminophen, the active drug in Tylenol; and that it was ruled a suicide based on information from police and doctors.

A comment on Patently-O notes-->

At the risk of going off-topic, has everyone noticed the interesting patent-related news? Specifically, USPN 6,316,006, filed November 23, 1994 and issued November 13, 2001? And USPN 6,387,665 filed March 7, 2000 and issued May 14, 2002?

The inventions relate to anthrax vaccines and compositions for preparing the vaccines. One of the named inventors is Bruce Ivins who, according to Wiki, was "a scientist for 36 years and senior biodefense researcher at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Fort Detrick, Maryland for 18 years." Ivins also published "44 published scientific papers dating back to May 18th 1969," and "received the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service—the highest award given to Defense Department civilian employees—for helping solve technical problems in the manufacture of anthrax vaccine."

Although Judge Rader would never believe it, Ivins was about to be charged with murder and attempted murder for the infamous anthrax attacks that flipped out the more cowardly citizens of our country in the wake of 9-11 (and which were used by the Bush Administration to promote a false connection with Iraq). Ivins allegedly killed himself earlier this week. The previous suspect, Dr. Steven Hatfill was paid $5 million bucks by the government for the damage at the same time they gave awards to Ivins for his "distinguished service."

The interesting thing about the anthrax patent, of course, is the timing.!ut/p/kcxml/04_Sj9SPykssy0xPLMnMz0vM0Y_QjzKLN4gPMATJgFieAfqRqCLGpugijnABX4_83FT9IKBEpDlQxNDCRz8qJzU9MblSP1jfWz9AvyA3NDSi3NsRAHxEBJg!/delta/base64xml/L0lJSk03dWlDU1lKSi9vQXd3QUFNWWdBQ0VJUWhDRUVJaEZLQSEvNEZHZ2RZbktKMEZSb1hmckNIZGgvN18wXzE4TC8yOS9zYS5nZXRCaWI!#7_0_18L

A notice of allowance was sent February 19 1998. Then there appears to have been some confusion. A second Notice of Allowance was mailed Oct 16, 1998. Then the application was abandoned. A petition was filed in June of 2000, docketed to an Examiner, and then basically noting happens until ...


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