Intellectual Property as the foundation of Pharmaceutical Innovation
By Krishna Kanumuri, CEO & MD, Sai Life Sciences
Intellectual property has and will be the foundation of pharmaceutical innovation. Now, more than ever before, we are poised for a revolution in the near term with the emergence of new modes of treatment, advanced diagnostics, and digital health. The debate on drug prices and the role of intellectual property have been historically shown in an unfavourable light.
This is in good measure, due to two factors:
• established pharma companies controlling majority of new product launches
• the relative durability of therapeutic superiority of products.
However, this is changing.
This year we have seen over half of the new molecules being launched by newer entrants, making it a much more diverse group of companies with much less market concentration. Many of these new molecules are either highly targeted therapies or focused on rare diseases, making the average market size much smaller. This is also leading to the average life cycle of products coming down, as newer therapies either better target a sub section of the target patients or have better efficacy overall.
These tremendously exciting trends are, helping diagnose diseases earlier and keeping people out of hospitals while enhancing their quality of life and productivity. The value of that while hard to compute objectively, from a qualitative and quantitative standpoint should be staggering.
We need to do everything possible to strengthen global standards of IP compliance and governance. This will be hard to do in today’s trend toward hyper nationalization. Drug pricing and global acceptance of IP are related. Countries in the past have not recognized patents or insisted on compulsory licensing to keep drugs affordable. This has created antagonism both from developed countries who feel like they are paying a disproportionate price, and innovators who can only address a small market.
The underlying theme is that new therapies are complex to make and have small, targeted patient groups. Only by expanding the patient population via a strong global IP value system and affordability/performance-based pricing mechanism can we accelerate innovation, and more importantly, increase access for a much broader range of treatments for people around the world.
At Sai Life Sciences, our fundamental belief is to do what is right for the patient and we respect Intellectual property as it is right for the patient. We also go the extra mile to ensure that our customers’ IP is safe with us. Healthcare is a fundamental human need; we need to think and act globally.