Why Bayh-Dole matters more than ever

April 21, 2020
Another Tuesday. Our industry’s still working hard on coronavirus breakthroughs—but some lawmakers want to put those vaccines and treatments at risk by making changes to the Bayh-Dole Act, which helps partnerships and R&D happen. We discuss why the law matters more…
BIO

Another Tuesday. Our industry’s still working hard on coronavirus breakthroughs—but some lawmakers want to put those vaccines and treatments at risk by making changes to the Bayh-Dole Act, which helps partnerships and R&D happen. We discuss why the law matters more than ever, plus a look at how your coffee habit could help clean up the planet and provide the products we need, in about 660 words, or 3 minutes, 20 seconds.

Why Bayh-Dole matters more than ever

 
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As we’re anxiously awaiting effective treatments for COVID-19, it’s a good time to give thanks for the Bayh-Dole Act, an important law that helps science become useful products and cures. 

Refresh me on the Bayh-Dole Act. In a nutshell, the bipartisan 1980 legislation:

  • Empowers universities, small businesses, and non-profit institutions to take ownership of inventions made during federally funded research, so they can license these basic inventions for further applied R&D and broader public use.

  • Encourages the private-sector investment needed to turn basic government-funded biomedical research into tested and approved products, requires these products to be manufactured domestically, and ensures royalties for universities to further advance basic research and education.

What does it have to do with COVID-19? A lot, actually, as many drug manufacturing companies are pouring millions and billions of dollars into turning basic science from federally funded research into potential coronavirus vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics. 

To discuss the critical role of public-private partnerships in the COVID-19 battle, on Thursday April 23, the Bayh-Dole 40 Coalition and Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) will host a free webinar on how partnerships between industry, academia, and federal labs work and why the legislation is so important, especially right now. Click here to register and join this important discussion.

What they’re saying: “The eyes of the world have anxiously turned to the United States of America looking for salvation as the coronavirus ravages the globe. We are the undisputed leaders in developing critically needed new medicines because our patent system promotes innovation while the Bayh-Dole Act ensures we can seamlessly form public/private partnerships. As a result, our best minds are working diligently to save us.” – Joseph Allen, Founder and Executive Director of Bayh-Dole 40

More reading:

  • Morning Consult: How the Bayh-Dole Act facilitates development of coronavirus therapies
  • IP Watchdog: Everything depends on coronavirus R&D partnerships—don’t let the critics wreck them
  • MassLive: Thank obscure law, Bayh-Dole Act, for potential coronavirus vaccine

 

More Health Care News:

STAT: NIH Director Francis Collins on Tony Fauci, the WHO, and running a $39 billion research agency from home 

The New York Times: Coronavirus is forcing medical research to speed up
“What typically takes many months is happening in weeks, even as some journals are receiving double their normal number of submissions.”

 
 
 
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But first, coffee.

We don’t know about you, but we’ve been drinking a lot more coffee while we’ve been working from home. But don’t throw those coffee grounds away! New research finds we might soon be able to transform them into bioplastic, reports New Atlas.

About half the weight and volume of used coffee grounds is cellulose, according to researchers at Yokohama National University

And cellulose can be used to make bioplastics, or plastic alternatives made from renewable materials. 

This could help solve our massive plastic waste problem. The researchers oxidized the cell walls of the grounds, creating a structure that’s ideal for biodegradable plastic alternatives and could potentially be used to make products like renewable coffee cups and straws, or even car parts.

And, it could help solve our coffee waste problem. Over 6 million tons of coffee grounds are produced annually, and many end up in landfills. 

Why are we talking about this now? BIO continues to push for policy that supports renewable chemical development so we can create bioplastics that reduce waste and pollution—especially as demand for PPE, which relies heavily on this type of material, will remain steadily high for the foreseeable future.

 
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Want to know more about bioplastics? Check out our infographic.

 
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President Trump’s Tuesday: Meeting with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in Washington. The Coronavirus Task Force is scheduled to hold a press briefing at 5 PM ET. 

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: Recess until at least May 4. POLITICO has the latest on the next round of coronavirus relief.

 
 
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