Therapies for Ignored Diseases

Last week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave Collaborative Drug Discovery (CDD) a $1.9 million grant to help tuberculosis scientists to collaborate to discover new cures for TB, a disease that is resurgent in the 3rd world.   The company provides web-based software that organizes preclinical research data to enable scientists to collaborate worldwide to advance new drug candidates more effectively. The humanitarian side of our mission is helping labs in universities and foundations to find therapies for ignored diseases such as malaria, schistosomiasis, African sleeping sickness, etc.

Obama Transition Team Member Is No Fan of the U.S. Patent System

Peter Zura at the 271 Patent Blog comments on the report by Condé Nast Portfolio that President elect Barack Obama is setting up agency review teams responsible for reviewing all the major U.S. government departments.  One of the team members is Reed Hundt, who was Bill Clinton’s FCC Chair from 1993 through 1997. Hundt is apparently not fond of patents saying:

America’s patent system is a mess . . . The U.S. ought to chuck this 18th-century relic and start all over again. Here’s what the ideal system would look like.

First, we should slash the number of patents granted each year by 90%. In 2004 the U.S. Patent &Trademark Office issued 165,000 patents. Sixteen thousand is more like an optimal number. This should be easy to accomplish because most technology should not be patentable.

Huh? And don’t even get me started on his idea of a $500,000 application fee to buy a guarantee that your patent application will be reviewed and accepted or rejected within one year.

Biotech Bankruptcies Looming?

Ed Silverman Pharmalot discusses the fate of biotechs as the global economic crisis has cut funding to the lowest level in a decade, triggering bankruptcies and threatening development of drugs.  In the past month, at least five biotechs filed for bankruptcy. The amount raised this year by biotechs fell by $9.7 billion through September, or 54 percent, compared with the same period in 2007, according to Burrill & Company, a life sciences investment bank. According to a Bloomberg report, “This all will play out in the next six to nine months.”  The upside?  Investors will likely return to biotech once the economy stabilizes because the industry still promises attractive returns.

And Joe the Plumber Thought He Was Picked On

Matt Buchanan at Promote the Progress mulls over the US Patent Office Final Rule, which levies a ‘practitioner maintenance fee’ on attorneys and agents recognized to practice before it in patent cases.  The new rule requires all registered patent practitioners to pay an annual fee to maintain their professional association with the agency.  The fee is to be used “to enable the Office to maintain a roster of registered practitioners and, consequently, better protect the public from unqualified practitioners.

Under “Rule Making Considerations,” the Deputy General Counsel for General Law, United States Patent and Trademark Office, declared that this is all OK since apparently patent practitioners make a good salary.  Thus, this fee does not have a significant economic impact.

So, why did it take five years to take this rule from draft (published on December 12, 2003) to final (published November 17, 2008)?  I’m guessing someone at the USPTO said “Holt Crap!  We’re all &^$*#@’d come January 20th!  We’d better get all our initiatives through now!

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