Medical research charities want patients to benefit from the research they fund. Protecting discoveries and exploiting intellectual property (IP) are vital stages in the development of new drugs and treatments. Some of our members are already experienced in commercialisation. Benefiting from innovation: intellectual property advice for medical research charities is a report by AMRC’s IP working group.
This report pulls together expertise from medium-sized charities, drawing on these case studies to develop clear principles to guide charities considering protecting their discoveries and encouraging exploitation.
Reviewing your policy
- Are your terms and conditions clear, so that universities and researchers understand their responsibilities?
- If you choose to own IP, you will need access to staff, resources and expertise in order to maximise its potential.
Raise awareness of the importance of protecting IP with researchers through:
- your funding terms and conditions
- seminars and workshops
- publicising the mechanisms and support available.
- Develop relationships with researchers and their universities so that IP can be discussed.
- Examine your portfolio through ongoing monitoring or retrospective review.
- Create new funding streams to support IP development.
- Dedicate charity resources to identifying IP.
Protecting and managing
Develop a clear policy on:
- whether your charity will financially support patent protection and the process for making decisions on patents
- how you will respond to agreements between universities and third parties.
If you choose to be actively involved in exploiting IP, make sure you have the resources to assist in and monitor the exploitation phase.
The working group was drawn from AMRC member charities with expertise in developing new ways of managing and exploiting IP beyond standard terms and conditions. The group held a series of meetings to discuss the current and future challenges that medical research charities face when they deal with IP and the exploitation of research that they have funded.
Dr Liz Philpots, acting chief executive, AMRC, led the IP working group. Liz said:
‘Charities are valuable partners in commercialisation, bringing expert knowledge and involving patients. When charities fund research, they have a strong drive to see the research benefit patients, and protecting and exploiting IP is a vital step. This report offers advice to funders of all size on how they can approach IP, in conjunction with other partners, and play a more active role in the exploitation of medical research, ensuring that innovation benefits patients.’