This time last week I had the privilege of attending the 5th Biennial Biosimilars and Biobetters Congress in London. The conference really highlighted for me the importance of such conferences! There are so many different aspects to the biosimilar/biobetter industry –including basic product development, optimisation of manufacturing processes, patents, regulatory laws and pricing/tendering/marketing. Each of these individual aspects are highly technical and it can be hard work just keeping up with developments in your own area. It is even harder to get a good overview of developments in other areas – and so having a conference which brings together experts in all of these fields must be beneficial to all.

There was a big excitement about the number of big blockbuster drugs (e.g. Humira) which are coming off patent very soon, and the opportunities that this offered to biosimilar and biobetter developers.

I found rather a high level of misunderstanding of the patent system: for example, “patents last 15 years” (no, the standard life is20 years) and “patents are immoral” (to which I disagree, as I would since I am a patent attorney).  I hope that the seminar which I gave on Patenting Biosimilars and Biobetters helped to dispel some of these misunderstandings.More detailed information on the topic and other biotech inventions may be found in the booklet on ‘Patenting of medical and biotech inventions’.