18 October 2017Africa

Sanofi leads the way for gene therapy patents: report

CPA Global has found that Sanofi files the most patents covering human gene therapy and also spends the most on them overall.

The IP management company  studied 803 patent families from 1988 to 2014, with this last year accounting for the most patents: 71.

This figure indicates the field is “rapidly moving into a new and likely consistent high-growth phase as it approaches commercialisation”, the report said.

Sanofi’s 56 patents placed it top of the filing rankings, followed by Oxford BioMedica, University of Texas, University of California and Bluebird Bio.

In terms of investment, the French pharmaceutical company has spent $8.3 million on the patents, $5.5 million ahead of the University of Texas, which came second in that category.

But, the report said, just $500,000 of Sanofi’s spend came after 2012, so “while the company is notable as a source of initial technologies and techniques, Sanofi is unlikely to be a leading commercial player in the next phase of gene therapies”.

“Instead, the highest per patent investor is uniQure, a Dutch firm and owner of Glybera—the first approved gene therapy treatment in Europe,” the report said, noting that uniQure spends $159,000 per patent, compared to Sanofi’s $149,000.

The US (43%), China (13%) and Europe (12%) were the top three regions for patents in the gene therapy field.

Of the patents studied, 90% mentioned a specific target for treatment, ie, a condition or disease, but applications covering methods of treatment were least common.

This shows “there is less focus on the editing methodologies that would deploy outside the lab, indicating a certain immaturity”, according to the report.

“This argument is bolstered by the fact that all four technical sectors that are brand new to the landscape are treatment methods: CRISPR, TALEN/TALE, meganucleases and personalised medicine,” it said.

“In addition, low patent volumes in these spaces, and the lack of commercial application, provide a very strong opportunity for innovators in this space.”

The report predicted that technology implementing CRISPR “specifically to common diseases such as cancer, neurodegenerative or cardiovascular disease” could be the most valuable IP rights in the next 20 years.

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