Pharmaceutical companies are facing expiration of the patent protection on their main profit generators and having relatively fewer new products in the pipeline. Nanomedicine holds the key for future
Nanomedicine offers new value propositions and revenue streams especially in diagnostics. It will displace certain classes of drugs e.g chemotherapy agents with novel nanoparticle reformulations. The future of nanomedicine business depends a lot on patents and IPRs.
Patent offices around the world are struggling to evaluate and prosecute nanotechnology patent applications. The rise of nanotechnology is presenting new challenges and problems.
DR. Raj Bawa, Professor of Natural and Applied Sciences Bawa has published a special report in a recent issue of Nanomedicine ("Patents and nanomedicine") where he argues that only a robust patent system will stimulate the development of commercially viable nanomedicine products that can drastically improve a patient's quality of life and reduce healthcare costs.
Not unlike the current development of traditional drugs, the process of converting basic research in nanomedicine into commercially viable products is proving to be long and difficult. The research drive towards nanomedicine is very broad and to a large degree happens outside the pharma companies' labs.
One of the major hurdles is an emerging thicket of patent claims due to continued issuance of surprisingly broad patents by the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).. It is also the cause of the inadequate patent classification system that was recently unveiled by the PTO.
All of this is creating a chaotic, tangled patent landscape in various sectors of nanomedicine where the competing players are unsure of the validity and enforceability of numerous issued patents. If this trend continues, it could stifle competition and limit access to some inventions. Therefore, reforms are urgently needed at the PTO to address problems ranging from poor patent quality and questionable examination practices to inadequate search capabilities, rising attrition, poor employee morale and a skyrocketing patent application backlog.