Blog 2020-06-29T21:47:51+00:00

Did you miss this talk? Really?

February 16th, 2020|Blog|

I love the biotech-life sciences-healthcare scene in San Francisco. So much happening! So many companies, constant news on new drugs, new tools, new results, new approaches. There is a continual flow of seminars, panel discussions, fireside chats and other formats for gathering information. But that’s what surprises me - that not everyone, or even a majority of people I know, take full advantage of the supply of events (or even attend with some regularity). For me, these events provide many things: a source of information for on-going research and company activities, a forum for networking with a wide variety of people in the industry and the opportunity to hear different perspectives, particularly about how to start, grow, and maintain a fledgling biotech endeavor. Last week I attended the Drug Hunter Award and associated seminar at UCSF. Dr. Richard Miller was the recipient of the award for his work in bringing [...]

Refine and Evolve

October 24th, 2019|Blog|

It’s been a busy start to the Fall season in my world of startups.  A new class has just started at IndieBio.  UCSF Catalyst recently finished a round of progress updates for its awardees and is already looking at the next round of proposals. UC Davis is gearing up its Venture Catalyst companies to prep for investor events. All of this activity involves communication. It reminds me of the importance for startup companies (and all of us) to learn focus and tailoring in presenting our message. I remember how struck I was at the last IndieBio demo day for the spring class. Quite an evolution from where they started out four months earlier. The companies had made key leaps in messaging their offerings. Focus and refine the points.  Certain messages resonate with an audience.  And what resonates may dependent on the type of audience. The class presenting at the demo [...]

Dancing in the dark

August 22nd, 2019|Blog, Groundworks|

Eighteen months of darkness     When an applicant files an application for a patent, the first publication generally is 18 months from that first filing date. The first date may be the filing date of the provisional application in the US or the priority filing in another country.     There are a few exceptions. On the quicker side, an application on Track One (accelerated prosecution track) may issue and therefore publish before the 18 months. On the darkness side, for US only filings, there is the possibility of a non-publication request.     Why does this all matter? When you are trying to figure out who else is out there doing something similar, whether a competitor has filed on a related idea or beaten you to the punch, you are looking at the present state of things as it was 18 months ago. It’s somewhat like the folks [...]

Celebrate the Milestones!

August 8th, 2019|Blog, Musings|

When I look back on my PhD thesis, the time is memorable.  What holds no memories however, is actually crossing the finish line.  When I completed the draft of my thesis, I left for my post-doctoral position.  There was no ceremony, no fanfare, nothing to mark the day. That is why I was so delighted when I attended the recent thesis talk for PhD candidate Leeanne, a young women I met through the mentoring program at Women in Bio.  Her “thesis day” was marked by celebration, memories, acknowledgements and lessons learned. Two aspects most impressed me.  The first was the intro to the event.  Leeanne’s thesis advisor introduced Leeanne by reflecting on her growth, not only as a PhD candidate, but as a resilient and determined woman.  It was personal and warm.  Given that PhD candidates spend many years in a lab (some as short as 4-5 years, others much [...]

Things are not always what they seem

July 24th, 2019|Blog, Groundworks|

Patent claims are where it’s at if you are looking at freedom to operate. Keep in mind, however, that it’s really issued claims that are the worry. I get a fair bit of concerns sent my way about patent applications. It comes in two flavors. Some concerns are for what is in the specification, and others are for the claims published with the application. I’ll take these on one at a time. With regard to what is in the body of the application (the specification), if the subject matter of interest hasn’t made it into the claims, this is at best a worry for the future. Because the relevant elements are not in the claims, this is not what the applicants are currently pursuing for patent coverage. There is a possibility that this subject matter could provide the basis for claims in a future application (e.g., a continuation or divisional [...]

Got government grants? The ticking clock to file patents just got faster!

May 1st, 2019|Blog, Groundworks|

The regulations governing obligations related to patent filings changed in 2018.  But now, almost a year later, I find that very few grant recipients are aware of the recently added obligations or even more generally, of the ones that remain the same. In a nutshell- if you get government money for research and that is used to make a patentable invention, there are strings attached. Welcome to the Bayh-Dole Act.  If you are getting NSF, NIH and SBIR funds (or other government funding) as a small business (e.g., start-up company) or non-profit institution (e.g., university), you should understand your commitments. Why?  Because if you don’t, you could lose valuable rights to your inventions. If you work for a university, most likely the folks handling the patent filings there are aware of the requirements.  But for those of you with a start-up managing your own IP filings, this may come as [...]

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