The European Court of Justice has ruled that organisms incapable of developing into a human being can be patented. The ruling has been heralded by proponents as “a big step in the right direction” for stem cell research in the European Union.
Three years ago, the court had ruled that stem cell research involving human embryos could not be patented. In the latest ruling, however, the court decided that eggs which could not develop into a human being did not constitute a human embryo.
The ruling is likely to provide a boost to Europe’s biotech industry.
The matter was brought before the ECJ after a US firm, International Stem Cell Corporation, initiated a case in the UK.