While the number of patented medicines on the EML has increased in recent editions, the portion of the list currently under patent remains a small portion of all drugs on the EML, currently about 10%. A deeper dive into the data shows that many drugs are only patented in a fraction of lower income countries. Thus, 80% of lower income countries have 50 or fewer active patent filings on that ten percent. Moreover, many of these patented drugs are subject to institutionalized programs to provide access at lower cost. This paper provides an update to previous efforts to understand the nature of the EML, while expanding previous information thanks in part to the existence of new freely accessible online databases showing patent status and participation in programs to provide access.
Collaborations to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution
The need for the rapid development and global distribution of a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection has spurred a number of novel collaborations between the pharmaceutical companies, research entities, and other stakeholders. These collaborations aim to ensure broad access to new health technologies to address the pandemic.
- One example is the University of Oxford Jenner Institute vaccine candidate, developed with AstraZeneca, that included collaborations with Catalent Biologics (Italy), Symbiosis Pharmaceutical Services (UK), Oxford Biomedica (UK), Emergent BioSolutions, BioKangtai (China), and R-Pharm (Russia). Through the WHO’s Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, AstraZeneca signed an agreement with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, on vaccine development, manufacturing, and procurement, ensuring 300 million doses of the vaccine for low- and middle-income countries. Separately, AstraZeneca also signed a license agreement with the Serum Institute of India (SII) to supply 1 billion doses of vaccine to low- and middle-income countries.
- Another example involves Sanofi and GSK, which signed a Statement of Intent with Gavi, to make available 200 million doses of their adjuvanted recombinant protein-based COVID-19 vaccine, if approved by regulatory authorities.
- A third example focuses on Johnson & Johnson. The company has committed to bringing an affordable vaccine to the public on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use and anticipates the first batches of a COVID-19 vaccine to be available for emergency use authorization in early 2021.
Analysis of patent “evergreening”
In this article, Professor Erika Leitzen argues that critics of so-called “evergreening” of healthcare patents have an ulterior motive: to deny drug innovators the right to enjoy the exclusivity, and the resulting pricing advantages, their patents afford them. She says understanding this requires unpacking the regulatory landscape and market more carefully, and paying closer attention to word choice.
WIPO IP Diagnostic
This WIPO tool enables users to undertake a basic diagnostic of the intellectual property situation of their business. It is in the form of a questionnaire with several sections that asks questions on different IP topics (e.g. innovative products, trademarks, licensing, designs, internationalisation, etc.). The tool then generates a report that gives recommendations and further information on IP and business competitiveness.
Charting leadership in the 5G race
In this article, Matthew Noble, Jane Mutimear and Richard Vary examine the difficulties in charting the leadership of companies in the 5G Standard Essential Patent (“SEP”) industry, and demonstrate how different assumptions can drastically affect the results. Our article investigates: the difficulties in making such an assessment; how variable the results are to the underlying assumptions; and, the importance of being transparent when publishing patent portfolio analytics, especially with regard to 5G SEPs.
Shiok Meats debuts lab-grown shrimp meat
Shiok Meat’s finished product possesses the texture of ground shrimp and has already been tested to make shumai, the Cantonese dim sum mainstay with the yellow dumpling wrapper. But its applications are potentially manifold in Chinese-centric cuisine. Eventually, the company aims to move beyond ground shrimp meat to produce crab, lobster, and a structured deshelled shrimp. Read more.