Sunday, February 10, 2008

How far out is therapy based on embryonic stem cells?

IPBiz has frequently commented that royalties from patents based on embryonic stem cell therapy are not likely within the ten year (first) lifetime of California's CIRM.

An IPBiz reader presents some further thoughts on the issues -->

One of the other problems per public funding of stemcell research: When public money goes to public agencies (think Rutgers), the work at the university usually becomes "public". It may become a patent, and the university thereby can license it and make $$. But in doing so, what they discovered is "known" to everyone, and therefore a private company cannot use this discovery to build a "moat", an IP defense wall. In effect, by making the discovery "known", they have damaged the ability and incentive to bring the overall therapy to market. (A similar effect occurs, when a national lab jumps into technical areas and is given patents. The discovery will now probably NOT be used in whatever is brought to market.)

When will the public funding folks realize this damaging aspect of their work?

Public $$ should be used for areas where
A) the government has a monopoly requirement, such as making nuclear weapons;
B) where the work is so far in the future, that any "bringing to market" is not feasible during the lifetime of the patent;
C) where the work is to open and explore new areas, with no obvious markets. Much of university research may fall into this category, "useless" research with no obvious utility.

Stem cell work does not satisfy A-C. There is plenty of private money pursuing bringing the therapy to market. We don't need public money in this area.


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