A new research report shows that the United States leads the world in the number of patent first filings for point-of-care (POC) diagnostic tests. Such tests are a vital tool to help combat the global health threat of increasing antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance.
The report was produced by the intellectual property firm Marks & Clerk, London, and Landon IP, Alexandria, Va, the patent analytics and consulting arm of intellectual property management specialist CPA Global, Jersey, UK.
The report includes a comprehensive patent landscape study that was undertaken in support of the Longitude Prize, a £10 million prize fund aiming to revolutionize global healthcare and conserve antibiotics for future generations. The prize is run by UK innovation foundation, Nesta, with government-backed funding partner Innovate UK. The prize seeks to find a fast, accurate, easy-to-use, and cost-effective test for microbial infections that will enable health professionals worldwide to administer the right antibiotics at the right time.
The report, Microbial Infection: Point-of-Care Diagnostics, examines patent filing behavior relating to antimicrobial POC diagnostics tests from 2009 through 2014. Highlights of the study’s findings include the following:
- The United States dominates patent filing in the POC diagnostics field. Out of 332 patent families filed from 2009 to 2014, 258 of them were first filed in the United States. The UK was second with 26 first filings. Australia, Germany, Singapore, and South Korea were the next most common jurisdictions for patent first filings with six each.
- Abbott leads patent filing, followed by the University of California.?During the study period, US life sciences company Abbott was the world’s most prolific first filer of POC diagnostics patents (26 patent families), followed by the University of California (more than five patent families).
- Private companies—particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs)—lead patent filings in POC diagnostics. Between 2009 and 2014, more than half of patent filings relating to POC diagnostics around the world were by private companies (170 out of 332 patent families). SMEs are particularly dedicated to the cause, representing 70% of the patent filings by private companies (121 out of 170 patent families). However, universities are also hotbeds of innovation, accounting for 118 families.
- Tuberculosis is the most commonly targeted disease. Of the patent applications that specified what antigen the assay (diagnostic method) or device (instrument) sought to detect, 134 were targeted at bacteria, and 114 were targeted at viruses. Only seven were targeted at parasites, and five at fungi. The most commonly targeted individual antigens were mycobacteria (a cause of tuberculosis, 28 applications), human immunodeficiency virus (nine applications), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (eight applications) and Clostridium difficile (nine applications).
- Methods top instruments. More than half of the patent families filed related to assays (170 out of 332), while less than a fifth of the filings related to diagnostic devices (55 out of 332). The remainder of the applications related to both an assay and device.
“New point-of-care diagnostic tests are key to the fight against antimicrobial resistance. Encouragingly, our research shows that there are a number of organizations innovating in this area,” says Paul Chapman, PhD, partner and patent attorney at Marks & Clerk, and Longitude Prize advisory panel member. “The United States is leading the way in the levels of innovation in antimicrobial point-of-care diagnostics, with the UK and then other countries in Europe and Asia Pacific lagging behind by quite some margin. More will need to be done on a global basis to address the issue and to stimulate further innovation in this vital area.”
“Public awareness of the significant global health threat posed by the rise of antimicrobial resistance is increasing, as is the urgency in finding a solution,” says Tim Griffiths, CPA Global CEO. “Our patent landscaping study shows that many different types of entities are engaged in this endeavor, with large pharmaceutical companies and SMEs, universities, and government agencies all carrying out research into point-of-care diagnostics. However, the study also demonstrates that there is considerable scope for further research—and we hope initiatives like the Longitude Prize will encourage other innovative organizations and individuals to take up the challenge.”
“This patent landscape study is a very valuable tool for the prize,” says Tamar Ghosh, Longitude Prize lead at Nesta. “It helps us to understand the specific types of research in different parts of the world, and will also be used as a tool to help the judging panel assess entries. Our hope is that the combination of the Longitude Prize and greater awareness of the problem of antimicrobial resistance will fuel a dramatic acceleration in the search for solutions, many of which may be surprising and from unexpected sources.”
- Microbial infection: Point-of-care diagnostics. London: Marks & Clerk; Jersey: CPA Global, 2015. Available at:
www.cpaglobal.com/assets/Documents/REPORTPOCDiagnosticsReportDRAFT13FINAL.PDF?1435596386. Accessed July 7, 2015.