Partial success for Testbiotech
2 February 2023 / A patent covering genetically engineered ‘Alzheimer apes’ has been significantly restricted after Testbiotech filed an opposition. The ‘Alzheimer’ animals were meant for use in pharmaceutical research. Originally, the patent (EP3066203) granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2020, covered all rodents and non-human primates up to and including great apes, in which genetic engineering is used to induce certain symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. The opposition division at the EPO has now restricted the patent to use on rats and mice.
EU Commission calls on EFSA to re-evaluate several genetically engineered crops
22 December 2022 / New publications indicate that so-called Bt toxins have previously unknown side effects. Bt toxins are produced as insecticides by many currently cultivated transgenic plants. More than 50 of these plants may also be imported into the EU and processed into food and feed. The toxins are supposed to be harmful only to certain pests and cause no side effects. However, current findings have cast considerable doubt on these assumptions. Testbiotech has already drawn the EU Commission’s attention to this in recent statements on EU approvals.
The Food Authority did not have a mandate to systematically search and analyse the relevant scientific publications
12 December 2022 / Testbiotech will today be participating in a panel discussion organised by the European Food Safety Authoriy (EFSA) about new criteria for risk assessment of plants derived from new genomic techniques (NGTs or also New GE). In a document, recently published, EFSA has created the impression that there is, in most cases, no need to take the unintended genetic changes caused by NGT processes into account. EFSA appears to assume that the unintended genetic changes and the associated risks could not be distinguished from those resulting from conventional breeding.
Recommendation: EU Commission should change its approach
8 November 2022 / Testbiotech was commissioned by the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband, vzbv) to compile a report on the risks of ‘new genomic techniques’ (NGTs, also ‘new genetic engineering’, ‘New GE’ or ‘genome editing’) to health and the environment. The report identifies key points important for the regulation of organisms derived from New GE. Testbiotech proposes two pillars for future regulation: first, an assessment of the risks associated with intended and unintended genetic changes.