How the Bayh-Dole Act Facilitates Development of Coronavirus Therapies

Stephen Ezell April 3, 2020
April 3, 2020

As the urgency of finding a treatment and vaccine for the coronavirus accelerates, dozens of American biomedical companies, startups and universities are rushing to develop COVID-19 therapeutics. There’s a good chance the Bayh-Dole Act will play a critical behind-the-scenes role in facilitating these efforts.

Writing in Morning Consult, Stephen Ezell explains why.

In the life sciences, Bayh-Dole enables universities to secure IP rights — often in the form of patents for molecular compounds or biotechnological processes — which they in turn often license to startups and bigger biopharmaceutical companies. Over 200 new drugs and vaccines have been developed through public-private partnerships facilitated in part by the Bayh-Dole Act since its enactment in 1980. These medicines treat conditions ranging from Crohn’s disease to hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS and HPV, among many others. In contrast, not one drug was created from federally funded research under the technology-transfer regime that existed prior to Bayh-Dole.