Proprietary Drugs

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 28th November 2018.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the march-in rights provided by the US Bayh-Dole Act 1980, if he will introduce such rights in Medical Research Council (MRC) contracts, to enable the Government to license a patent to a third party for a MRC-funded medicine.

Photo of Sam Gyimah Sam Gyimah Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Higher Education), Minister of State (Education)

The ownership of intellectual property (IP) arising from publicly funded research in the UK, including from Medical Research Council (MRC), resides with the research organisation within which the research is undertaken; which could be a university, independent research organisation or research council institute. These research organisations are expected to have exploitation arrangements in place as a condition of the transfer of IP ownership (for example, in Research Council grants), to enable third parties, including businesses and other organisations, to licence or commercialise the results of this research.

Where research is conducted in an MRC owned unit or institute, the arising IP is owned by the MRC. MRC uses LifeArc as its “technology transfer agent” for the protection, management and exploitation of this IP, including licencing to business and other organisations. Royalties arising from these licensing activities, and from licensing to any spin-outs based on any MRC-owned IP, are owned by the MRC for as long as the patent is effective; the earned income is re-invested by MRC in research.

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