Vancouver, British Columbia – LifeScience BC is pleased to announce that the Federal Government has recently passed new regulations which will strengthen Canadian intellectual property protection for patented medicines, the majority of which are being developed by biotechnology companies, including those in British Columbia.

The changes made are in regard to Industry Canada’s Regulations Amending the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations and Health Canada's Regulations Amending the Food and Drug Regulations (Data Protection); and will see Canada’s patent and data protection regulations for innovative biological products increased to internationally-competitive standards.

These issues surrounding data and patent protection were identified in BC Biotech’s recent Position Paper, Building World-Class Biotech Businesses – The Industry Position as being among the most critical to the development of the industry. As a result of the Paper, BC Biotech and the Provincial Government came together to encourage the Federal Government to more effectively recognize the importance of protecting, increasing and harmonizing patent and data protection with Canada’s global partners.

“It’s extremely rewarding to have the Federal Government respond so effectively to the issues we and the Province brought forward,” commented Karimah Es Sabar, Executive Director. “We applaud them for making this move, and realizing the significant economic impact of these amendments, as well as the innovative new treatments they will bring to British Columbians and Canadians. The changes will result in making Canada’s patent and data protection regimes much more competitive internationally, and will put our local companies and research institutions developing innovative new products on much more solid footing when it comes to accessing the Canadian market.”

Intellectual property protection is central to ensuring investment into research and development in Canada, and has particularly strong implications for the biopharmaceutical industry because of the lengthy timelines required for drug development, which effectively reduce the commercial life of a biotechnology patent to often less than half that of other industries. This results in a very short timeframe for recovering the costs of research and development in the market. The absence of sufficient data protection further erodes the benefits of patents by providing access to corporate data on drug formulas prior to patent expiration dates. This too jeopardizes the potential to recover the significant investments required in research, development and commercialization, and consequently limits global investment into Canada’s research-based industries and the number of new treatments being developed here.

This step forward is a tremendous example of how leveraging the strength of government can lead to incremental changes to public policy which are collectively creating an enabling environment in which life sciences can thrive.