The Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Biotechnology, Health and Business in Canada, the United States and Worldwide

Tag Archives: Specter

The Patent Reform Act of 2009: Absent Inequitable Conduct Provisions Help Biotech

The Patent Reform Act of 2009 was introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill includes Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) as a co-sponsor. Notably missing from the list of co-sponsors is Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), Ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

Provisions relating to inequitable conduct have been removed from the previous version introduced last year. Inequitable conduct is a critical provision for the larger pharmaceutical companies. Provisions relating to apportionment of damages are of secondary importance to large pharma, but critical to biotech. The biotech industry does not favor the current damages language. The fact that inequitable conduct provisions are missing means that large pharma will focus its opposition to the patent reform bill on damages provisions.

The text of the Senate bill is not up on Thomas yet, but you can find the full text as introduced here (pdf).  See also Dennis’ Patently-O post with summary and commentary.

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Senate Stimulus: Good and Bad Outcomes for Funding Biotech

The latest Senate deal provides an extra $6.5 billion to NIH, amounting to $10 billion for biomedical research but also to improve research infrastructure in NIH facilities. According to Senator Arlen Specter, Ranking Republican on the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, the monies would be divvied up among NIH agencies in amounts proportional to their fiscal year 2008 funding. He said that economists estimate that the additional funds could lead to 70,000 new jobs in the health industry over two years.

The latest Senate stimulus deal cuts $870 million for pandemic influenza preparedness efforts. This funding was largely set aside for advanced development of novel vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. This is quite different from the earlier stage work that would be funded through NIH. I have heard that the funding would not only fund development efforts for flu, but also allow Health and Human Services to support other advanced development programs, namely for biodefense.

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