Volume Four Abstracts

Biotechnology Law Symposium

January - April 1997

Boston University School of Law's Center for Law & Technology and the law firm of Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault presented four public symposia on Biotechnology Law in Spring 1997.

Financing the Biotech Industry: Can the Risks be Reduced?
January 23, 1997

In this roundtable discussion, experts  discussed the dependency of the biotechnology industry on venture capital, the historical experience of biotech investment, methods of evaluating economic risks, legal considerations, and implications for basic and applied research.

Roundtable participants

Dr. Jonathan Beckwith, Harvard Medical School
Leslie Davis, Esq., Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault
Stanley Erck, President, Procept, Inc.
Professor Joshua Lerner, Harvard Business School
Henri Termeer, President & CEO, Genzyme, Inc.
Farah H. Champsi, Managing Director, Robertson, Stephens & Co.


Dean Ronald Cass, Boston University School of Law

Probing the Human Genome: Who Owns Genetic Info?
February 13, 1997

Patentability of living organisms and ownership of genetic information are important incentives for commercial developments that can advance human well-being. However, these incentives raise legal issues, organizational challenges, and social concerns. This session addressed these matters and the need for responsible accommodation of diverse views under the human genome research program in the U.S. and commercial bioprospecting abroad.


Edmund Pitcher, Esq., Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault


Dean Charles DeLisi, Boston University
Developer of the Human Genome Program
Ms.Wendy McGoodwin, Executive Director, Council for Responsible Genetics
Michael Gollin, Esq., Spencer & Frank


Lawrence Wittenberg, Esq., Testa, Hurwitz &Thibeault

Gene Therapy: What Legal & Ethical Safeguards are Needed?
March 20, 1997


Gene therapy is advancing from experimentation towards routine medical practice for remedying human genetic deficiencies. In germ line applications, gene therapy will provide a powerful means for shaping future generations. This session addressed ethical considerations, federal safeguards, malpractice liability and health insurance coverage issues.


Gina Maranto, author of the The Quest for Protection


Professor Charles Cantor, Director, Center for Advanced Biotechnology, Boston University
Professor Leonard Glantz, Boston University School of Public Health and author of Children as Research Subjects: Science, Ethics, and Law
Professor Francis Miller, Boston University School of Law


Paula Campbell, Esq., Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault

Transgenic Agriculture & Biosafety: Should International Trade Be Deregulated?
April 17, 1997

Multinational companies in the U.S. and Europe are developing an extensive menu of genetically modified crops capable of pest resistance and other attributes which will increase food production. Critics fear "gene flow," environmental impacts and other implications for developing nations. Testing procedures and numerous guidelines are now being followed, and a U.N. working group is drafting a biosafety protocol for international commerce in such products. These developments and their implications for human well-being, protection of biodiversity, and free trade were addressed in this session.


Dr. Calestous Juma, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity, United Nations
Richard Godown, Director, BIO
Professor Sheldon Krimsky, Tufts University and author of Agricultural Technology and the EnvironmentRufus King, Esq., Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault


Professor Michael Baram, Director, Center for Law and Technology, Boston University School of Law