Emerging innovation - IPPro patents
HGF Partner Craig Thomson discusses innovation in emerging fields such as bacteriophage therapeutics, and the challenges of protection in these areas in IPPropatents.
Biotechnological approaches used today in medicine have been shaped by explosions of research in many emerging fields. Innovating in such emerging fields can be more interesting than innovating in an established field. There can be more potential to identify real game-changing innovations, there are no established 'standards' set by commercialised products, and the field can change daily.
However, for the same reasons, developing an optimised strategy for the patent protection of innovations in emerging fields can be very challenging.
An introduction to bacteriophage
Bacteriophage (phage) are viruses for bacteria. Many will be familiar with their use, since the 1970's, as a cloning vector (for example, the lambda phage). Outside of former Soviet states (notably Georgia), phage's ability to target and kill specific strains of bacteria has been largely overlooked as a potential new form of antibiotic. Medicine in the West has focused on the raft of small-molecule antibiotics that have been developed. With the growing number of strains of antibiotic-resistant, a new-found interest in the use of phage as an antibiotic has emerged.
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