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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Beyond the Patented Genome: Protecting Discovery in the New Biology Estate Space

Intellectual property (IP) drives the pharmaceutical industry because making drugs is relatively cheap; discovering them, very expensive. IP protection is essential for any industry where the costs of innovation far exceed the costs of production. Figuring out what drug to make takes huge capital investment, but once the answer is known, it can be copied at relatively small marginal costs. Without IP incentives to drive the very high costs of drug discovery, no one could reasonably be expected to invest in the business for long. The traditional IP protection of pharmaceuticals is long-standing: the composition-of-matter patent, typically covering a particular genus of small molecule. Claims to particular species, methods of making and using the claimed compounds, and pharmaceuticals containing them, often round out the portfolio. Protection of therapeutic biologics has developed along similar lines. In general, protection of investments in the development of therapeutics has traditionally revolved around patent protection of the therapeutics themselves, the endpoints of discovery.


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By Arie M Michelsohn, PhD, JD, Member of the Bio/Pharmaceutical Practice Group at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP

Dr Arie Michelsohn is a member of the Biotechnology/Pharmaceutical Practice Group at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, where he specialises in strategic counselling and patent infringement litigation in the areas of genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics and pharmaceuticals.
Dr Michelsohn has extensive experience in motion practice and discovery and has lectured and chaired several panel presentations on New Biology topics. He holds a JD from the George Washington University Law School and a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the California Institute of Technology. Dr Michelsohn is an active member of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. .

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Dr Arie Michelsohn
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