Letter from the Editor-in-Chief
Thomas A. Ward
Welcome to the spring edition of New Matter for 2020. The cover art for this issue illustrates the intellectual property (IP) issues arising due to coronavirus. Gilead Sciences’ experimental patented drug remdesivir developed to combat ebola has emerged as a promising candidate against coronavirus. But its patent in China has raised some IP issues.
As a first issue, the Chinese pharma company BrightGene has successfully copied remdesivir and has already mass-produced remdesivir’s active ingredient and is in the process of turning it into finished doses. BrightGene made clear the generic version is still in an R&D phase, and that its final marketing requires permission from the patent holder, Gilead. BrightGene’s board secretary explained that there isn’t any patent infringement issue at this point in China because it’s not selling the product. But manufacturing a copycat to a patented drug at scale without any license is unusual and could create concerns about protection of IP in China.