The Intellectual Property and Policy Research Group (IPPRG)
The IPPRG is a collaboration of interdisciplinary researchers from law, sociology, philosophy and science backgrounds who are interested in the convergence of technology, innovation and translation. Our research has been funded by members’ participation in a number of Genome Canada projects. Our research is centred on alternative and conventional intellectual property regimes (IPRs) such as:
- Genomics and Technology Transfer/Development Offices
- Patent Pools and Essential Medicines
- Open Source Drug Discovery and Development
- Research Tool Patents & the Experimental Use Exemption
- Public Domain as an Alternative IPR
- IP and Regulatory Policy for Neglected Disease Drug Development
- IP and Plant Genomics
We outline the technical basis for each model and identify the ethical and practical issues at stake, including the promotion of public health, the location of proprietary rights and detailed examinations of the distribution of cost and benefits.
Intellectual Property and Pharmaceuticals
The Impact of International Agreements on Health:
The North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) was the first international trade agreement to include harmonization provisions to protect IP and remains an important source of obligations for the three NAFTA state parties. The Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (“TRIPS”) agreement is the global multilateral legal instrument governing substantive IP law. I am currently using comparative legal analysis and qualitative methods for illuminating how member countries of NAFTA are meeting their harmonization obligations and adapting their IP systems through available flexibilities to promote pharmaceutical R&D and Access.
Neglected Disease Pharmaceutical R&D Business Models: An Assessment of Alternatives:
The traditional business model for pharmaceutical development has been of start-up companies licensing patented academic research leading to a product that allows R&D costs to be recovered through sales at quasi-monopolistic prices. While this market model works to some extent, it is not optimal as it rations access to new medicines through elevated prices and does not create incentives to develop treatments for small markets. My research question examines whether “It is possible to construct business models that improve incentives for both access and innovation?” I analyze traditional and new models that have been proposed, including prize funds, patent pools, product development partnerships (PDPs), and advance purchase commitments (APCs).
A Historical View of Pharmaceutical Innovation:
Using a variety of government and academic data sources, we are studying trends in innovation in the pharmaceutical market over the past 80 years. Our hypothesis is that discrete waves of category-defining innovation occurred at key points in the pharmaceutical industry’s history and that the industry is currently between periods of significant therapeutic discovery – – caught between the drugs-by-design revolution that began in the late 1970s and still-emerging biopharmaceutical revolution of the early 21st century. We are using information on the timing, number and nature of new drugs to come to market and on drug sales and generic market penetration to test hypotheses and illuminate market dynamics.
Incentives for Valued Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Sector:
This is a study of the economics of pharmaceutical innovation. We include a systematic review of estimates of cost of drug development, a conceptual framework for defining pharmaceutical innovation, and a detailed review of incentives for innovation. We illustrate the implications of patents as a tool for providing private sector incentives, highlighting how patents provide “forward looking” incentives by rewarding the product of research and development and how they are “plutocratic” in the sense that incentives are proportional to the wealth of the end market. We review policy interventions required to provide incentives for investment in desired health innovations in developed and developing countries.