BIO International: The long-term importance of IP
The BIO International Convention was held on June 3rd through the 6th in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, hosting 1,100 biotechnology-related companies from across over 30 nations. Eric Podlogar, IP Strategy and Valuation Market Lead and Kim Swanson, Director of Sales, attended the event.
We approached the vast Pennsylvania Convention Center before the conference opened, and even then it was clear from the sea of people in the hallway that it was going to be a massive conference.
The ktMINE booth was located in the “Contract Services” zone of the hall, making it easy for attendees to enter and locate us. A quick and informal survey of the area around our booth suggested there weren’t too many vendors focusing on intellectual property (IP) data or services.
It was exciting to see that there was everything from big to smaller entities, from government agencies to academia, from finance and accounting to entities specializing in contract manufacturing and just about everything in between. The environment at this vertically integrated event felt like a frontier or watershed moment generating excitement similar to what the wireless industry experienced in the 1990s. There was a unique and hopeful energy in the hall due to the emerging products and services associated with the application of new technologies.
The traffic throughout the hall, and to the ktMINE booth, was steady. Although many were looking for an immediate return on IP investments, there is an understanding of the strategic and long-termed importance of IP.
Many universities and academic entities that were in attendance provided traditional technology transfer solutions, facilitating the movement of technology from discovery and experimental stages and into practical application. Others were interested in identifying specific “prospect patents”, especially those where a conclusive value could be determined and/or a forecast developed, enabling transaction discussions.
We also found that there was interest in the gathering of government grant information from entities like the NIH and the DoD. More specifically, BIO attendees were keen to locate sources that provide more information on how technologies may be permitted for use, with the ultimate goal of identifying preclinical candidates. There are available sources, however, it is an intensive and time-consuming process to obtain this information.
We spent a little bit of time trying to understand why the contract manufacturers were not as motivated by IP as we thought they might be. We learned that contract manufacturers (or CMs) produce biological products based exclusively on their clients’ directions and so the CMs can find protection using confidential disclosure agreements and explicit indemnification clauses. That said, considering the explosive expansion of the BIO industry, it would seem surprising that there aren’t any innovations to be protected at the manufacturing level.
Overall, we had some interesting visits and even better conversations from people throughout the show. We can agree that the 2019 BIO International event was a success that will ultimately translate to new innovations at ktMINE.