Friday, February 5, 2016
Recent discussions we have had about intellectual property in inhibitor design highlight how artificial it all is. One needs "composition of matter", it seems, i.e., a new molecule. One cannot patent a new use for an old molecule as easily - it seems to be not worth it for investors. One cannot patent a molecule that has been published. Etc etc.
One wonders, then, what patents are really for. Are they to give due financial reward for creative people who make new, useful things or processes? If so, a lot of people deserve the rewards.
Assume someone designs a drug using molecular dynamics.
Who should get the credit?
Here's a very partial list.
a) Isaac Newton, Erwin Schroedinger etc, who laid the foundations.
b) Everyone who contributed to the simulation methodology.
c) The computer manufacturers and sys admins etc.
d) The team who did the simulations.
e) The experimental team who tested the compounds that failed and those that succeeded.
f) Everyone in decades gone by who devised the experimental methods for e)
g) All the preclinical researchers who optimized the lead.
h) The clinical trial patients and doctors etc.
i) The drug company that makes and distributes the drug.
j) Everyone who taught everyone to do a)-j)
That's a whole lotta folks; some dead, some alive. Those still alive should share the profits somehow. That would be ideal. Unworkable, surely, but ideal, I think.