PATENTS
Court backs MIT, Harvard on CRISPR

A U.S. appeals court on Monday allowed a research center affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University to keep patents potentially worth billions of dollars on a gene-editing technology known as CRISPR.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the validity of the Harvard and MIT patents, rejecting a challenge brought by a rival team of researchers associated with the University of California at Berkeley and University of Vienna in Austria.

CRISPR allows scientists to edit genes by using biological “scissors” to find and replace selected stretches of DNA.

The Broad Institute, the biological and genomic research center affiliated with MIT and Harvard, said in a statement that it was “time for all institutions to move beyond litigation” to “ensure wide, open access to this transformative technology.”

Charles Robinson, a lawyer at the University of California, said the institution was evaluating further litigation options.

— Reuters

CRYPTOCURRENCY
N.Y. approves Winkevoss exchange

Two companies have won approval from New York state to issue cryptocurrencies pegged to the U.S. dollar.

Gemini Trust, the digital-asset exchange founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, received approval from the New York Department of Financial Services to launch the Gemini dollar, a statement said Monday. Paxos Trust, a blockchain firm that caters to financial institutions, also got permission to issue the Paxos Standard, which also launched Monday.

The new coins will compete with Tether, Dai and other stable coins designed to track the value of the traditional currency. Tether, one of the biggest cryptocurrencies, faces concerns that it’s not actually backed by dollars as its creators claim.

The Gemini dollar will offer more transparency to potential users than other stable coins, Tyler Winklevoss said. State Street will hold the U.S. dollars backing the coin, said bank spokeswoman Kerri Doherty. The currency and its dollar reserves will be audited monthly by BPM to ensure they match, Winklevoss said.

— Bloomberg News

Also in Business

Americans increased their borrowing in July at nearly double the pace of the previous month, evidence that confident consumers are willing to take on more debt to support their spending. The Federal Reserve reported Monday that consumer debt rose by a seasonally adjusted $16.6 billion in July, up sharply from a gain of $8.5 billion in June. The category that includes credit cards rose by $1.3 billion after shrinking by $1.2 billion in June. The category that covers auto and student loans surged by $15.4 billion after rising $9.6 billion in June. It was the largest gain since an increase of $17.9 billion last November.

A federal appeals court on Monday invalidated Acorda Therapeutics patents covering its multiple sclerosis drug Ampyra, opening the door to generic competition for the company’s flagship product. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a lower-court ruling that four Acorda patents on Ampyra were invalid because they described obvious ideas. Generic drugmaker Hikma Pharmaceuticals had challenged the validity of the patents. Acorda chief executive Ron Cohen said in a statement the company was reviewing the possibility of a further appeal.

Foreign investors bought more U.S. government debt at auctions in late August, hinting at a pause from their pullback in purchases because of global trade tension and a strong dollar, government data released Monday showed. The U.S. Treasury Department awarded overseas private and government accounts $4.426 billion of the $36 billion worth of two-year note supply, the most since February, according to the Treasury's auction allotment data. Offshore investors bought $3.134 billion of the $37 billion in five-year Treasurys offered, up from the $2.833 billion they purchased in July.

— From news services

Coming today

10 a.m.: Commerce Department releases wholesale trade inventories for July.

10 a.m.: Labor Department releases job openings and labor turnover survey for July.