Each year on April 26, we take a moment to spotlight the role of intellectual property (IP) in incentivizing the outstanding innovations and their positive impacts on our daily lives. This year’s World IP Day focuses on innovations from small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which are made possible with the support of IP rights.
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged nearly all aspects of our lives – including for SMEs. For some SMEs, the global health crisis accelerated their mission to bringing lifesaving innovations from idea to reality. Here we showcase just a few examples of SMEs that have leveraged IP rights to help play an integral role in our public health response capabilities:
Accelerating COVID-19 Treatment
Antibodies are a proven, effective treatment for certain infectious diseases, making them a strong candidate for potential COVID-19 treatments. However, the current antibody manufacturing process is time-intensive and cannot keep pace with the rapidly progressing COVID-19 outbreak. Swiftscale Biologics set out to create a new method for antibody production equipped to produce these therapeutic candidates in a fraction of the time.
Whereas traditional manufacturing processes take nine to 18 months, SwiftScale uses their novel approach to produce antibodies in just one month, helping companies get treatment to the people who need it as quickly as possible.
Bringing Innovation to Market, Faster
While new, lifesaving medical innovations are developed every day, the amount of time it takes to bring products to market – from concept to regulatory approval – can be frustrating for patients who are in need of new treatment options. One study estimates that the biopharmaceutical clinical trials last at least 10 years, on average. Recognizing a need for change, Clariness found a solution: by optimizing clinical trial recruitment and patient engagement through an innovative technology platform, they were able to accelerate trials and bring cutting-edge therapies to market faster.
A Novel COVID-19 Therapeutic
Angiotensin Therapeutics Inc. has worked diligently to develop an innovative protein that has the potential to treat serious kidney conditions. However, as COVID-19 emerged, their expert scientists noticed that their novel protein might be a powerful tool to fight the global pandemic. Angiotensin Therapeutics began working with an important protein naturally found in the body called ACE2. By making precise alterations, they developed a new version of the protein that is slightly smaller, allowing for direct action on the kidney.
They soon discovered that this smaller ACE2 protein happened to bind to COVID-19 in a way that makes the virus is no longer able to infect the patient. Angiotensin Therapeutics has already seen positive data in lab settings and is planning to explore this innovation further with clinical testing.
World IP Day is an important annual celebration of how IP serves as a cornerstone for success in delivering breakthrough innovations from enterprises of all sizes. IP protections enable the development of creative solutions, incentivize further innovation and create an environment that supports the growth and development of SMEs. As we have seen in the last year, and in the examples above, robust IP remains critically important for the continuation of lifesaving advancements – and should continue to be strengthened and supported.