GENTECH archive


Re: UC Finalizes Pioneering Research Deal, archives 427 and 436

Ron Epstein wrote (in part):

>Since Rick's comments ignore the big picture, here is a brief indication of
>some of "what all the fuss was about." The main problem with the agreement
>is that it represents the blatant commercialization of public education. If
>a big chunk of the University of California at Berkeley is being made into
>a subsidiary of a multinational corporation, what hope is there for other

Rick replies:

If in fact the Novartis agreement actually commercialised public education,
I would agree with Ron.  However, neither he nor anyone else has brought
any evidence to my attention that this agreement has done so!  As I said in
my original message (reprinted below), this appears to be an very
unrestricted "gift".

Before I left the US, companies like Mobil Oil were involved in sponsorship
of the US public broadcasting system, including for the "News Hour".  Did
this "commercialise" McNeil or Lehrer?  I don't think so. Nor do I believe
that the Novartis agreement, on the basis of the facts thus far presented,
commercialises public education.


>At 03:30 PM 11/25/98 +0930, Rick Roush wrote:
>>After having read the whole article sent by Epstein, I am left wondering
>>what all of the fuss was about.  For those of you who are not familiar with
>>University administration, this is an excellent deal for the public. The
>>work is about understanding plant genomes, which has broad utility for
>>classical plant breeding, and is only tangentally related to transgenic
>>crops.  It would be far more useful for "marker assisted selection", which
>>is an application of molecular biology to classical breeding.  Most
>>importantly, "unrestricted" is a key word in agreements of this type;
>>Novartis has only the rights of first refusal to license patents.