The Changing IP Landscape: Biopharma is the Battleground for Supreme Court Patent Assault
The Supreme Court previously took a hands-off approach to IP cases, often going whole terms without deciding matters in this area, but that era appears to be coming to an end. The current justices have shown a renewed interest in patents, handing down one or more major decisions in each of the past few years. The life science industry will not only be affected by this shift; it is largely the means through which the Supreme Court is engineering this change in direction, particularly in the biopharma industry.
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The Supreme Court has decided to hear a case--LabCorp. vs Metabolite--that could invalidate patents based on the correlation between natural biological markers, like proteins or genes, and a disease. The case strikes at the heart of the new diagnostics start-ups-and could also invalidate a host of pharmaceutical IP strategies.
In a blow for tool companies and a boost for drug developers, the Supreme Court in June held that drug companies could--in specific circumstances--use tool patents without paying for them. The problem: no one knows just how much protection the ruling affords. Even drug-developing biotechs, who now get a freer hand with other companies' tools, aren't universally happy with the ruling.
Roche/Genentech oncology partnering maintained a robust dealmaking pace through the pandemic, keeping the percentage of partnered R&D programs at about 50% of the cancer drug pipeline.