Biotechnology Patents

It can be a long and, at times, difficult road to commercialise inventions in the biotechnology sector. The technologies in this sector are often considered high risk by investors so face funding challenges, followed by regulatory pathway hurdles in order to get the product on to the market. What’s more, the technology itself can illicit strong public reactions, such as in the area of gene patenting and stem cells.

It can also be a challenge to convince someone of the value of a product that they cannot see or touch, or a process or method that they cannot test for themselves. Your patent specification therefore becomes the critical document for “selling” your invention and creating perceived value. For smaller start up biotech companies in particular, their patents are often the key assets of the company.

At Freehills Patent Attorneys, we can assist you with developing an effective and adaptable patent portfolio that balances costs with commercial value. Our expertise and understanding of the biotech sector from both a scientific and legal perspective allows us to develop innovative prosecution strategies to achieve patent protection in the more controversial technology areas of this sector where others have been unable to do so.

In contrast to fast moving sectors where products often have a short lifecycle, a “blockbuster” product in the biotech sector can still have enormous value right up until the very last day of its patent term. For this reason, you need to plan ahead to ensure that your patent adequately protects your product and does so for as long as possible. In this regard we treat every application as a potential blockbuster when it comes to the drafting and prosecution strategy.

For our local clients, which include research laboratories and research institutions in Australia, and local biotechnology companies, we develop practical patenting strategies to meet their local and international needs. For multi-national companies and other overseas clients, we ensure that their patent strategy is best suited for the Australian and New Zealand market, while ensuring consistency with their strategies and objectives in other key jurisdictions.

Freehills Patent Attorneys technical range of expertise includes

  • Antibody technology and characterisation
  • Gene silencing and RNA interference
  • Infectious diseases, particularly viral infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis
  • Stem cell isolation and culture
  • Protein structure and function
  • Cancer biology and genetics

Freehills Patent Attorneys expertise in action

Our client was a start up biotechnology company spun out from a university. The science was a platform technology of great potential, so was of critical importance to the company, and the patent applications represented their only asset. As a start up however we had to protect their asset and achieve commercially relevant patent protection on a budget.

Over time, this technology proved to be revolutionary in the field, and is now a standard technique in many laboratories as a research tool while also being the basis of many new therapies. With its success came numerous challenges by third parties to the validity of the patents. The patents protecting this foundational technology survived every one of those challenges, and our client now has a very successful and extensive licensing programme in place.

A large part of our success for this client was due to us becoming a trusted advisor. We developed a close working relationship with them and a thorough technical understanding of their technology, together with an understanding of their commercial objectives and where threats to their success existed.

Meet our Biotechnology experts