IP Global Rankings Update: Canada in Competition (1 of 2)

I recently attended a panel discussion in Ottawa hosted by Montréal InVivo and Life Sciences Ontario focused on the Competitiveness of Canada's Life Sciences.

Among the panelists were Prof. Meir Perez Pugatch from Israel and Dr. Brent Zanke, President of ArcticDx from here in Ontario.


I was particularly interested in Prof. Pugatch's presentation as I've blogged previously about his Global IP Rankings survey and was curious to see how Canada was doing when stacked up against our competitors one year later.

Prof. Pugatch opened up by highlighting the challenges of getting a novel drug to market. It is expensive, with an average cost of $1.4 billion and an R&D process that carries a great deal of risk and is scientifically more difficult and complex.

The model of drug research is also changing. Pugatch spoke to the Mega-trends in the life sciences business model that are shifting towards an open and collaborative R&D model - one that has more partners sharing risk, including between the big and the small - the larger companies and research institutions with smaller businesses. He also talked about the increasing expectations being placed on new therapies by government health policy makers in order to demonstrate meaningful value to patients.

Shifting to the global competitiveness landscape, Pugatch did a quick review of a number of key national innovation strategies that countries have been adopting to attract R&D spending in the life sciences sector. These included strategies that focus on:

- High quality human capital and infrastructure

- Investment in basic and applied R&D

- Translation of R&D into commercialization

- Robust IP environment

- Supportive regulatory and clinical frameworks

- Market incentives and conditions to support innovation (low red-tape, effective prices, rule of law)

Focusing in on the importance of Intellectual Property (IP) to effective innovation policies, Pugatch noted that the increasing time, cost and risk of life sciences R&D makes IP a sort of insurance policy to incent companies and individual researchers to take on these increasingly complex research challenges.

Turning to the ranking index Prof. Pugatch has developed with the Global IP Center out of Washington D.C., Pugatch first looked at the 2012 results which placed Canada with a 'score' of 14.21 out of 25. I covered the 2012 report and the fact that Canada scored closer to Mexico at 12.23 versus the next closest, Australia at 21.63, looking at factors such as implementation of international IP agreements, enforcement, trade secrets / market access, trademarks, copyrights and patents.

So how did Canada do in the 2013 draft Report?

Well, I'll fill you in on Prof. Pugatch's draft findings tomorrow. However, for today's blog, I thought I would close with an observation made by another panelist, Dr. Brent Zanke, President and CEO of ArcticDx. Dr. Zanke explained that - Canada is a good country to start out research in but not end it in. He noted that based on his experience, it has been impossible to incorporate IP into Canada's health infrastructure. Too many good ideas, and too many research projects are getting lost. They are stagnating due to the split between health system policies, often driven by cost and bureaucracy, and economic development mandates of governments that don't recognize the particular challenges of attracting life sciences R&D to Canada.

How do you think Canada scored in the draft rankings? Do you agree with Dr. Zanke's comments? You can read more about Dr. Zanke in this 2009 interview with BioTuesdays. Check back tomorrow for a sneak peak at Canada's 2013 ranking.