AAMC Acts Collectively to Rescue NIH’s Commercialization Mission

On the day the president’s budget was released this week 300+ medically engaged entities and associations nationwide, the backbone of our nation’s biomedical research ecosystem including many universities, disease advocacy groups, and medical centers, signed a full-page ad in the WSJ and POLITICO. Sponsored by “The Ad Hoc Group For Medical Research” and paid for by the Assoc. of American Medical Collages, its purpose was to thank Congress for its recent increased support for basic medical research. Ascribing US medical and economic strength to congressional bipartisan medical research, its content was straightforward and simple.

“When it comes to the Nation’s health
There’s One thing we can all agree on
Medical research Makes America Healthier and Stronger. ”
“LET’S KEEP THE PROGRESS GOING. INCREASE FUNDING FOR NIH BY 2 BILLION IN 2018.”

IP Strategic gratefully salutes this concerted effort to come to the rescue of NIH’s critical role in our life science innovation ecosystem.

Within our national health care ecosystem, NIH is the bridge between congressional R&D public investment in otherwise uninvestable life science and private sector development of its commercially promising results through Bayh-Dole directed commercialization. The ad’s focus is the NIH’s bridge’s on-ramp of congressional R&D funding. For the ecosystem to work the commercialization bridge’s off-ramp of private sector investment and development also must provide public benefit with its therapies, jobs and economic development. Off-ramp commercialization requires private sector investment which in turn requires reliable patent protection. Support and direction of commercialization bridge traffic flow is NIH’s mission. That bridging mission is undercut at its entry point by the Trump budget and effectively undermined at its exit point by patent uncertainties created by Congress, SCOTUS, and the USPTO. Here are just a few:

  1. SCOTUS’ continued capture by the infringer lobby’s promulgation of the misleading and now irrelevant troll narrative.
  2. Sec 101 Mayo/Myriad patent eligibility application rejections and court nullifications.
  3. PTAB and Federal Circuit corrosion of patents through public rights doctrine and its absence of structural due process.
  4. AIA and threatened future Innovation Act proposals designed in fact to eliminate access to patent enforcement.
  5. Various special interest pressures including price-based Bayh-Dole March-in to install politically-instigated life science product price controls.

Life science development is already very expensive and increasingly risky. The forces outlined above are causing the uncertainties now driving research, researchers, and investors to other countries (including China) who ironically are strengthening their commercialization structures while we weaken ours.

IP Strategic’s prime objective is to encourage and support research university direct congressional engagement on these issues by offering up to date awareness of Capitol Hill developments affecting these anti-commercialization forces. Without such active and direct engagement by the entire ecosystem and especially by our research universities with their home state congressional delegations, the NIH managed life science commercialization bridge will collapse.

Congratulations to the Ad Hoc Group. NIH can not save itself by itself, nor can the Ad Hoc group save our life science ecosystem by itself. Significantly this ad inherently stated that this is not only a policy issue it has become a political issue. Its emphasis on thanking Congress for bipartisan support for basic research is wise. For whatever reason, many in Congress fail to connect their R&D support for basic science with the efforts by specialized interests that undermine the commercialization bridge to public benefit by deterring the keystone private sector investment needed to deliver it. Including the entire system demonstrated that there was one, its components are connected and essential and strengthening the NIH hinge is critical. Let’s hope that this effort will continue connecting the dots for Congress.

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