Category Archives: investment

Roundup of Tech and Developing World Issues

  1. ‘Pharmaceutical Patent Enforcement: A Developmental Perspective’ is an article about the complex issue of how India should deal with pharma patents, taking into accounts its obligations under TRIPS. You may also wish to see our related posts ‘6 Academic Articles on Changing TRIPS and the Global IP System’ and ‘10 Points on the Max Planck Institute’s Declaration on Patent Protection’.
  2. ‘Building Competitive Green Industries’ is a report by infoDev into business opportunities for developing countries in sectors relating to climate change related and clean technology. The report takes the optimistic view that climate change represents an opportunity for developing nations to benefit from development of green and clean technologies. Whether or not one agrees with this it is for developing countries to prepare for climate change as best as they can, and this report presents options they can take.
  3. ‘Making Sense of the CETA’ is a critical analysis the Canadian-European trade agreement. It raises critical questions about how much power a trade agreement should have to interfere with issues of public importance. The reason why we have included it in this post is to highlight the issues that the developing world needs to consider when entering into trade agreements.
  4. A WIPO seminar on the ‘Evolution of Technology Diffusion’ provides insights into the difficulties of transferring innovation around the globe. See a paper here on the same topic.
  5. See here for a McKinsey report on how Southeast Asia can benefit from disruptive technologies.
  6. See here for Mariana Mazzucato arguing for government intervention in markets.
  7. See here for the World Economic Forum’s choice of the top 10 tech innovations of 2014.

Biotech Roundup: Time Frame of Investments, Gap in Funding Proof of Concept, Personalised Medicine and Reverse Payments

Here are various items of biotech news that recently caught our eye. We’ve provided a summary of each trying to show how the news item relates to the bigger picture.

1. Time Frame of Biotech Investments

Advent Capital is setting up a fund to invest in early and midstage European biotechs (see here). The proviso is that they wish to see returns in 6 years. That illustrates the drawbacks of investing in biotech companies developing drugs. It usually takes 10 to 15 years to develop a drug, and that keeps a lot of investors away who want to see returns in around 5 years.

2. The Gap in Funding Proof Of Concept Work

UK non-profit organisations Cancer Research and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research are funding proof of concept work in treating blood cancers (see here). This illustrates how infrastructure needs to be provided to do ‘basic’ research which won’t see any immediate returns. It remains for government to enter into these funding gaps to make sure research and innovation systems operate effectively.

3. Personalised Medicine

Personalised medicine is a difficult technology to develop as it is proving challenging to identify the appropriate markers. However it clearly has a lot of scope for improving patient care. ‘Incentives, Intellectual Property, and Black-Box Personalised Medicine’ (see here) examines changes needed to the innovation landscape to better develop this technology.

The US Supreme Court Akamai decision makes it harder to find induced infringement for multi-step method claims (see here) as it requires primary infringement by a single party. However for personal medicine the diagnostic part and the treatment parts of the invention could well be performed by different parties. This adds to the difficulties in obtaining patent protection beyond those caused by the Mayo and Myriad decisions.

4. What exits are happening in US biotech?

An article from the Life Sci VC blog (see here) discusses the proportion of IPO versus M&A exits that are happening in US biotech. The ratio is 40% IPO to 60% M&A. It’s therefore important to biotech to keep both options open.

5. Reverse Payments (Pay for Delay)

A recent PatentlyO article (see here) explained the economics of pay for delay settlements where it can be in a patentee’s interests to pay a generics company to stay out of the market, but this risks being anticompetitive.

A slightly old article on the European position can be found here.


Reforming University Tech Transfer

This article is a roundup of recent articles we have read about how to change university tech transfer.

The vast majority of university tech transfer offices do not break even, but some are very profitable. ‘The roadblock to commercialisation’ (see here) discusses new business models that tech transfer offices could adopt. It’s not clear to us that the suggested models adequately protect university interests, but they clearly provide food for thought.

‘Maximising the ROI of intellectual property (see here) discusses how universities could make more money from tech transfer as well as disseminating knowledge and technology better. The article also provides links to interesting reports.

‘Challenges in university technology transfer and the promising role of entrepreneurship education’ (see here) proposes that universities need to focus on entrepreneurship education to know how to make best use of the knowledge they have to offer.

‘Five challenges facing all tech transfer programs’ (see here) briefly discusses the issues faced by university tech transfer offices.

You may also wish to see our other articles on tech transfer:

10 Points on Patents and Tech Transfer

10 Observations on the Success and Failings of University Tech Transfer

Problems of Patenting and Commercialising University Research

Our article on the IP Finance blog about ‘Ethics versus Money in University Tech Transfer’ can be found here.


Top Tech Blogs

Tech blogs have huge numbers of visitors and are therefore an important way of disseminating news about the latest developments in technology. We’ve listed the most popular and our favourites below.

1. Mashable – 24 million visitors a month.

2. Gizmodo – 23.5 million visitors a month.

3. TechCrunch – 15 million visitors a month. We like this site. Whilst many articles are on very specific developments or new phone releases, there are also articles which are analyse the overall trends to understand what is happening in the tech space.

4. Engadget – 14 million visitors a month.

5. Wired – 13 million visitors a month. We like the mix of articles the Wired provides, with the odd political, social or historical story thrown into the tech topics.

6. TechRepublic – 4.5 million visitors a month.

7. VentureBeat – We like this site for articles that provide analysis of the tech space.

8. Fast Company – Not really a tech blog, but nicely written articles on new developments in lots of different areas.

9. Techdirt – a political blog with a lot interesting reactions and opinions to everything that is happening.

You may also wish to see related posts on Patent Blogs and 10 Points on Using Online Patent Databases.


Mazzucato’s ‘Innovation as Growth Policy’

These points are taken from a recent article by Mazzucato and Perez titled ‘Innovation as Growth Policy: the challenge for Europe’.

1. The world is in a crucial time of transition as to how to direct the economy after the financial crisis of 2008. We have a polarisation of incomes, high unemployment, low growth and a fearful financial sector which is steering away from the real economy.

2. Presently private and public investment go into speculative and short-term investment. The spread of information and communications technologies (ICT) in the 1990’s and 2000’s turned into casino capitalism. That financialisation has hindered progress.

3. Banks and venture capitalists have become risk-averse wanting returns in 3 years. However major innovations take 15-20 years to develop. That means they are not investing in the ‘big waves’ of the future. Long term funding must therefore come from public institutions.

4. A deeper understanding is needed of the process of innovation so that policies can be implemented to promote it as a driver of economic growth. Innovation is not just about easy money being available. It also needs a direction for the deployment of resources, i.e. a mission-led approach to innovation is needed. ‘Green growth’ can serve as a powerful global direction for deploying the potential of the information revolution.

5. Green growth is relevant to energy sources and uses, designing products, promotion of collaborative economies and promotion of health and education.

6. The markets cannot find the green direction on their own because there is no ready-made route that will make the multiple possible directions and disparate innovations profitable. Governments must take on the required high risk R&D.

7. Present efforts to generate growth which is both smart and inclusive are not working. A major innovation effort is needed to change this and a dialogue in which innovation and employment are not seen as trade-offs.

8. Conclusions:

– public investments are needed in a mission orientated approach

– direct and indirect incentives need to be provided to promote innovation

– EU banks can be used to cure the investment crisis

– ‘green’ can be used as the key challenge and direction

– long term committed finance is required

– definancialisation of the economy is required

– regulation is needed to shift profitability to key green areas

– taxation must reward long-term investment.

You can see the report here.

You may also wish to see related articles 10 Points on Muzzacato’s Rethinking the Role of the State and What is Wrong with Pharma R & D?

7 Websites from UK Academic Institutions Offering Technology for Licensing (Part III)

This is our third post providing a list of websites offering technology for licencing from UK academic institutions.  The first post can be found here and the second post can be found here. Simply click on the name of the organisation to be connected to the relevant webpage.

1. Newcastle University

2. University Technology (technologies from many Scottish universities)

3. Queen Mary Innovation (the tech transfer arm of Queen Mary University of London)

4. Glasgow Caledonian University

5. University of East Anglia

6. Fusion IP

7. E-Lucid (software and materials only from University College London)

You may also be interested to see related articles Building a Patent Portfolio and Top 10 Uncertainties In Patents.

7 Websites from UK Academic Institutions Offering Technology for Licensing (Part II)

This is our second post providing a list of websites offering technology for licencing from UK academic institutions.  The first post can be found here. Simply click on the name of the organisation to be connected to the relevant webpage.

1. UMIP (the tech transfer arm of Manchester University)

2. University of Leicester

3. University of Nottingham

4. South East IP (joint tech transfer organisation for The National Physical Laboratory, The University of Reading, Royal Holloway, University of London, The University of Surrey, The University of Sussex and Brunel University)

5. Heriot Watt University

6. Pipeline (from the Technology Strategy Board)

7. Easy Access IP (an organisation with technology from many different universities and research organisations)

You may also wish to see related articles Biotech Due Diligence Advice and 10 Pieces of Advice to Applicants