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Patent or publish (or both)? 25 years of Mabs!

Mike Clark mrc7 at cam.ac.uk
Thu Aug 3 13:38:28 EST 2000

A question of should academics be more interested in publication or
patenting? Attitudes have changed over 25 years.

This month, August 2000 is the 25th anniversary of the publication of
monoclonal antibodies by Kohler and Milstein.

There is a special issue of Immunology Today published to celebrate this
anniversary and in it Cesar Milstein gives an account of the discovery
'With the benefit of hindsight'.

Some like myself may have been in the field long enough to know some of the
controversy surrounding the alleged failure of Cesar to patent this
technique. In his defence Cesar writes that he did approach the MRC and
they in turn the NRDC and that there was no interest from them in patenting
or commercial exploitation.

As a PhD student in Cesar Milstein's laboratory (1978-1981) I witnessed
many of these discussions and saw some of the correspondence. After 25
years I have decided to put a copy of one of the key letters from NRDC to
the MRC up on my 'antibody structure and function website' for all to see.

I suggest you read it in the context of Cesar Milstein's own account in the
August 2000 issue of Immunology Today. I have put in links to the IT

To see the letter

Go to 

Mike Clark's Immunoglobulin Structure Home Page

and follow the links to

'25 years of monoclonal antibodies'

Hope this is of interest.


 o/ \\    //            ||  ,_ o   M.R. Clark, PhD. Division of Immunology
<\__,\\  //   __o       || /  /\,  Cambridge University, Dept. Pathology
 ">    ||   _`\<,_    //  \\ \> |  Tennis Court Rd., Cambridge CB2 1QP
  `    ||  (_)/ (_)  //    \\ \_   Tel.+44 1223 333705  Fax.+44 1223 333875

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