Friday, February 5, 2016

Patent Pending

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.

1 comment:

  1. An analogy would be who owns the right to say, a song. Surely you wouldn't consider the guys who codifed Western musical notation, nor the guys at Gibson (or Fender) who designed the guitars, nor the retailer who sold the instruments to the band mates. No, the ones who own the copyrights are the ones who used to existing tools to create something new. Everyone recognizes the genius of a Les Paul and acknowledges his importance in designing *the* guitar (OK, I'll accept a Stratocaster), but it takes a McCartney or a David Gilmour to translate these tools into a creation. Same things for our drugs. You can give a guitar to everyone, it does not mean you'll end up with Sgt Pepper or Exile on Main Street. You can give organic Chemistry and MD to everyone, it does not mean they'll end up with a drug.