Hearing on oppositions against patents on genetically engineered chimpanzees

Testbiotech brands Intrexon business methods “immoral”

Munich, 25. September 2015 On 29 September, a public hearing will take place in Den Haag on oppositions against patents on genetically engineered chimpanzees held by the US company, Intrexon. In its patents EP1572862 and EP1456346, Intrexon claims animals such as mice, rats, rabbits, cats, dogs, bovines, goats, pigs, horses, sheep, monkeys and chimpanzees as inventions. The animals are genetically engineered using artificial DNA synthesised from a mixture of genes originating from insect and other life forms. With these methods, the company aims to control and manipulate the gene function of various genes in the animals.

Besides Testbiotech, other opponents to the patents are the Albert Schweitzer Stiftung für unsere Mitwelt, Cruelty Free International (former British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection), Deutscher Tierschutzbund, Gen-ethisches Netzwerk (GeN), Gesellschaft für ökologische Forschung, Jane Goodall Institute (Germany), No Patents on Life!, Menschen für Tierrechte, Pro Wildlife, Schweizerische Arbeitsgruppe Gentechnologie (SAG), Schweizer Tierschutz (STS), TASSO, and Wild Chimpanzee Foundation Deutschland (WCF).

Intrexon sees itself as “a leader in synthetic biology” and is also active in the agricultural sector as well as in pharmaceutical research. The company has bought up several other companies including some that clone livestock and produce genetically engineered salmon. Intrexon is also actively interested in genetically engineered trees and has just recently acquired Oxitec, a company aiming to release genetically engineered olive flies into the environment in the near future.

Testbiotech considers Intrexon’s business activities and interests to be immoral as the company is expecting to make a profit from activities such as genetically engineering great apes and the release of genetically engineered organisms into the environment that cannot be controlled once released.

Together with other organisations Testbiotech has called upon banking institutes such as JP Morgan Chase, which is amongst the Intrexon investors, to base its investments on clear ethical standards. In June 2015, Testbiotech organised a conference on these topics in Berlin and published a report on patents on animals and an increase in animal experiments. Testbiotech is calling for a prohibition of patents on animals.

Contact: Christoph Then, Tel.: +49 151 54638040, info@testbiotech.org

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