Saturday, 6 July 2013

Biotech Hopping at Wall Street and Biotech Patenting on an Upswing--More Patenting to Come?

The Wall Street Journal reports that there have been 16 biotech IPOs (it is unclear what is defined as biotech) since the beginning of this year raising over $1.1 billion.  (for more on venture capital backed IPOs generally see here)  To put that in context, in 2004 there were 25 IPOs bringing in close to $1.17 billion.  In the last ten years, at this point, this year would be tied for the second best year and the future looks bright for more biotech IPOs.  The Wall Street Journal also speculates that the rise in IPOs along with their general success is attributable to R&D and clinical trial successes.  For example, the article states that: “Last year, the Food and Drug Administration approved 39 new drugs, according to the agency, a figure not reached since 1997. This year, the agency has approved 13 new drugs.”  With the supposed dried up pipeline of Big Pharma, this is welcome news.  Also, the surge in IPOs with more funding may mean more money for patenting efforts in the biotech space with more investors looking to biotech.

On the patenting side, Nature Biotechnology’s Bioentreprenuer reports on statistics on biotech patenting provided by IP Checkups.  It is also unclear what is defined as “biotech,” but the numbers are interesting.  There is a general upswing in biotech patents granted since 2008 from 657 to 850 in 2012 in the United States.  Interestingly, the article also notes the average number of biotech patents by university.  (it is unclear whether these numbers are for granted patents or for patent applications—or full applications or provisional--but it is more likely applications or some of the other numbers don't add up).  If you add up the average number of patents per year between 2008 and 2012 for U.S. universities listed (not all U.S. universities apparently), you get around 880 patents in the United States per year.  The article also has the numbers for patenting at the EPO.  The patenting in the United States is quite a bit higher than the patenting at the EPO.  This could be, in part, because of cost.  Any opinions on the data?   

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