A Commotion in the Blood. By Stephen S. Hall. Page 117 "a further discouragement in terms of the toxins is that without patent protection on a hundred year old treatment, there is little incentive for a drug company to invest upward of $200 million to test the vaccine and find that it works, only to watch competitors stream into the market".

  • I think based on the Wikipedia article that Coley used his treatment well before Parke Davis became a distributor. This would suggest that if a patent ever existed it would no have been filed by PD. Why do you ask?
    – Eric S
    Aug 31, 2021 at 21:25
  • FYI - also from Wikipedia "There is no evidence that Coley's toxins have any effectiveness in treating cancer, and use of them risks causing serious harm.[4]"
    – George White
    Sep 1, 2021 at 1:27

1 Answer 1


According to the Wikipedia Article, Coley started using his "toxins" in 1893 and published his results. I searched on patents assigned to Parke Davis and the earliest listed in Google Patents was from 1901 and was not related to Coley's toxins. I highly doubt that Parke Davis ever held a patent on Coley's toxins. I also searched for patents invented by William Coley and couldn't find anything related.

As the Wikipedia article documents, there have been studies done and no scientifically supported evidence of efficacy. Research into the performance of treatments is not limited to private drug companies. The NIH funds a great deal of research. I will also point out that companies regularly manufacture off-patent medicines. It is an enormous business.

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