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Vaccines - Patenting Dynamics of a Powerful Healthcare Tool

: Reiß, T.; Strauß, E.


Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Patents 8 (1998), No.8, pp.951-958
ISSN: 0962-2594
ISSN: 1354-3776
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISI ()
biotech firms; genetic engineering; governmental agencies; patenting dynamics; patents; research organisations; vaccines

Vaccines are condidered to be some of the most powerful healthcare tools of this century. From an industrial perspective, in the past they have not provided particulary attractive targets for investment, but this situation changed dramatically in the late eighties and early nineties wieth governmental initiatives aimed at stabilising the vaccine liability situation together with advances in molecular biology and the emergence of biotechnology, opening-up new opportunities for solving the scientific problems associated with vaccine developments. This paper analyses how these developments are reflected in patenting activities wordwide. The comparison of vaccine patent applications with pharmaceutival patents as a whole indicates the vaccine research has been a very dynamic field during the last 15 years, total paten applications increased by a factor of 7,5 between 1980 andn1994. Genetic engineering approaches have established themselves as a key tools for vaccine R&D, such techniques be ing applied in more than 50 % of all vaccine patent applications are mainly driven by the US and Europe, which together contributed 91% of all patents in 1994. Within Europe, France, Germany, Great Britain and Italy are the most active countries. Key players in vaccine patenting are American governmental agencies, international pharmaceutical corparoations, biotech-firms, universities and non-univierity public research organisations. All-in-all, public research activities seem to play a crcial role in the creation of scientific and technological knowledge for the devolopment of new vaccines.