A great article from Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News written by Lisa Haile reviewing the Myriad case and its implications for future medical advances.
“While it is unfortunate, I have seen quite a few technologies over the years that would be of potential great benefit to patients, but the intellectual property was simply not there to support protecting the product from fast followers in the market place,” explains Robert More, a general partner at Frazier Healthcare Ventures.
“Unfortunately, because of the enormous sums of money required to discover, develop, test, and approve anything in the healthcare sector, quite aside from the time it takes, IP is critical.” More further states that since “patents have definitive lifetimes, 20 years or less of exclusivity, and then an infinite time in the public domain, I think that is a small price for us to pay for innovation.”
“When evaluating opportunities to determine whether we will come in and underwrite the deal, we look at the IP position as one of the key questions,” explains Robert Dentice, head of life sciences investment banking at Cantor Fitzgerald. “We know that if the IP position is not strong, it is unlikely that we will pursue the opportunity further, knowing that the IP strategy and position will be one of the top three questions that the investors will ask about.”
Takeaways: The Case for Gene Patents
Gene patents are the foundation of the biotech industry and precluding them would halt forward progress.
The patent system promotes innovation and stimulates investment in R&D.
If there were no exclusive rights in the final product, there would be little incentive to invest time and money into developing it.
Without the incentives offered by the issuance of patents, the industry and, ultimately, patients would suffer.