Intellectual Property : Not Just for the Private Sector

This blog was posted on LillyPad earlier today by my colleague Amy O'Connor.  The role of public/private collaborations is very relevant to us here in Canada, and this blog speaks to the role Intellectual Property has in supporting the research efforts on the public side as well.

Last week, Karmel Allison, a patient, scientist, and advocate with Type 1 Diabetes,shared with us how publicly funded research aids in finding new treatments and cures for patients. Public sector research organizations represent a critical component of the innovation ecosystem. By engaging in basic research and working in tandem with private partners, public research entities help bring innovation to life one step at a time. If we want to see the kind of cures that Karmel and millions of patients around the world seek, we need to find opportunities to foster the shared drive for innovation between the public sector and the private sector.

Intellectual property protections provide one such opportunity. While we often think about the impact IP rights have on the private sector, we frequently overlook the ways the public sector benefits from these protections too. IP helps to guarantee that public sector researchers get their due protections and rewards. It also encourages partnerships with private sector companies seeking to support the same research areas as many public sector counterparts.

The development of treatments and cures that will help future generations rely on this balanced innovation ecosystem. We need to find ways to equally support the public sector's crucial initial research as well as the R&D investment from the private sector.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for IP-in-the-Public-Sector-Web-page-001 (1).jpeg 

This infographic from CropLife International's IP52 project highlights examples of innovations that changed the world, including one we're very familiar with at Lilly. In 1921, the groundbreaking work of Frederick Banting and Charles Best at the University of Toronto led to the discovery and subsequent first patent of insulin. However, insulin would have remained nothing more than a breakthrough in theory, or at best, a treatment for a privileged few, had Lilly not found a way to manufacture the drug on a very large scale. The balanced partnership between these researchers and Lilly that helped secure insulin's place as a vital 20thcentury medical innovation.

Each sector plays its own unique and integral role in the effort to create effective medicines for our future. Ultimately, we need each component to thrive. Intellectual property binds these sectors together and supports this innovation ecosystem. In order to maintain this ecosystem, we need to make sure that both sectors have the protections and incentives they need to find the treatments and cures for the patients of today and tomorrow.