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Pro IP

A new report commissioned by the Biotechnology Industry Organization suggests that patents on intellectual property help the biotech industry to develop new innovations, reports Amy Maxmen at the Nature News blog. The report, presented at BIO's 2012 conference by consultancy group Pugatch Consilium, says that patents do not hinder research, as critics have suggested. "In the literature we found that no, patenting does not stand in the way of research," said report author and Pugatch consultant David Torstensson. He added that the increase in patents over the past 10 years have mirrored the growth in biotech and pharmaceuticals, particularly in developing nations like India and Brazil.

"Patents, in general, are on the rise but the increase in biotech patents is most pronounced," Nature's Maxmen says. "For example, the rate of biotech patent applications to the European Patent Office grew by 14.3 percent annually in the past decade compared with 8.3 percent for all patent applications." Further, countries that have invested in biotech through patents on IP have seen economic improvement, she adds. "When you are investing in R&D and PhDs, and when you want companies to grow, then you should have IPs," Torstensson added.

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.