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Researchers find public sector research responsible for many new drug discoveries
Date:2/9/2011

(Boston) - Researchers from Boston University School's of Medicine (BUSM), Management (SMG) and Law (LAW), along with collaborators from the National Institutes of Health, believe that public-sector research has had a more immediate effect on improving public health than was previously realized. The findings, which appear as a Special Article in the February 10th issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, have economic and policy implications.

Historically, public sector research institutions (PSRI) have not participated in any major way in the downstream, applied phase of drug discovery, in which the actual products are discovered and patented. However, in the mid-1970s, the newly emerging tools of biotechnology allowed PSRIs to create and patent biologic drug candidates and discover and patent small molecule drugs. At that time, all products created in academic institutions were owned by the government, which granted only nonexclusive licenses.

In 1980, Congress passed two pieces of legislation that transformed the ownership, management and transfer of intellectual property that is created by PSRIs. First, the BayhDole Act allowed universities, nonprofit research institutes and teaching hospitals to own the intellectual property resulting from federally funded research and to license it according to terms of their choosing. Second, the StevensonWydler Technology Innovation Act as amended by the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986, provided a corresponding authority to federal laboratories. Under this new approach, inventions that arose from PSRIs, in addition to being freely published in the scientific literature, could also be converted into intellectual property and transferred through license agreements to the private sector for commercialization and public use.

In order to quantitate the contribution of public-sector research to the applied-research phase of drug discovery, the researchers identified new drugs
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Contact: Gina DiGravio
gina.digravio@bmc.org
617-638-8480
Boston University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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