Vice President Joe Biden Launches ‘Cancer Moonshot’ to Find Cure for Cancer

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President Barack Obama listens as Vice President Joe Biden speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington: WH

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Vice President Joe Biden and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) have announced new actions aimed at advancing President Obama’s call for a “Cancer Moonshot” to make “America the country that cures cancer once and for all” at the White House Cancer Moonshot Summit, according to a press release just out.

By catalyzing next generation research and development, freeing trapped data, and increasing patient access to treatments and clinical studies, the Moonshot strives to double the rate of progress towards a cure.

During the Summit, Vice President Biden unveiled that the USPTO is launching the “Patents 4 Patients” initiative, an accelerated lane of review for methods of cancer treatments. The USPTO will also take steps today to leverage patent data, and identify promising research and development (R&D) trends on the horizon in cancer immunology, virology, and combination therapy filings via visualization tools offered through the USPTO Developer Hub.

“In his 2016 State of the Union Address, President Obama called upon the nation to harness the spirit of American innovation by identifying new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Michelle K. Lee. “As he noted, getting this done isn’t just going to take the best and brightest across the medical, research, and data communities — but millions of Americans owning a stake of it. That’s why by harnessing the power of patent data, and accelerating the process for protecting the intellectual property undergirding cancer immunotherapy breakthroughs, the USPTO is standing up and doing its part to help bring potentially life-saving treatments to patients, faster.”

The USPTO’s collaboration with the Vice President’s Cancer Moonshot Task Force has led to the development of two major projects in support the Cancer Moonshot and underscores how new alliances can defy the bounds of innovation and accelerate the road to prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Patents 4 Patients establishes a Fast-Track Review for cancer treatment-related patents. This free, accelerated initiative will launch in July and cut in half the time it takes to review patent applications in cancer therapy (aiming to have final decisions made in 12 or fewer months).

This “fast track” will be open to any applicant, including early stage bio-tech companies, universities, and large pharmaceutical firms, as well as entities who may have products already in FDA approved clinical trials, which will also be able to opt in to the acceleration program, even if they have a patent application already filed with the office. With approximately 900 cancer immunotherapy applications received annually by the USPTO, and from around the world, this program aims to move innovative new treatments from conception through regulatory approval swiftly, to reach a patient’s bedside faster.

“As ailments of all types afflict our families, our neighbors, and our loved ones, piloting this initiative marks an important first step in testing and assessing how faster patent protection, in concert with swifter reviews from other regulatory bodies, can mark a collective approach that works to break down barriers to progress impeding cancer research,” Lee said.

The “Horizon Scanning Tool” will leverage patent data sets to reveal new insights into investments around cancer therapy research and treatments. With this data released through the USPTO Developer Hub in September 2016, users will be able to build rich visualizations of intellectual property data, often an early indicator of meaningful R&D, and combine them with other economic and funding data. Ultimately, the Horizon Scanning Tool will illuminate trend lines for new treatments and empower the federal government — as well as the medical, research, and data communities—to make more precise funding and policy decisions based on the commercialization lifecycle of the most promising treatments, and maximizing U.S. competitiveness in cancer investments.

On the heels of that data release this fall, the USPTO’s Office of the Chief Economist will also convene a workshop to bring together cancer experts, policymakers, and data scientists to explore and identify how intellectual property data can be better leveraged and combined with other data sets to support cancer research and the development of new commercialized therapies.

“Cancer is undoubtedly a disease that touches all our lives,” the release says. “Ending cancer as we know it requires the formation of new alliances and the USPTO is proud to be a part of that team.”

As the President’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative looks to build public-private partnerships with industry, governments, health systems, non-profits, philanthropy, research institutes, patients, and academia, those interested in advancing the Cancer Moonshot can join today by hitting the link for the CancerMoonshot.

The summit is being hosted by Howard University.

For more information about the USPTO’s Patents 4 Patients program, please refer to the Federal Register Notice.

© 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.