Recent Patents on Biotechnology (v.11, #1)

Meet Our Editorial Board Member by Pau Ferrer (1-1).

Preface by Nikolaos E. Labrou (2-2).

Background: Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) has a long history of use as a food additive and a traditional medicine for treating a number of disorders. Prominent bioactives of saffron are crocin, crocetin and safranal.

Objective: The aim of this study was to carry out an extensive patent search to collect information on saffron bioactives and their derivatives as therapeutic and cosmeceutical agents. All patents related to the area of interest published globally till date have been reviewed. Moreover, a recent synthetic biology approach to cost effective and consistent production of saffron bioactives has been highlighted.

Methods: A patent search strategy was designed based on keywords and concepts related to Crocus sativus L. and its bioactives- safranal, crocin and crocetin in combination with different patent classification codes relevant to the technology areas. This search strategy was employed to retrieve patents from various patent databases. The patents which focused on therapeutic or cosmetic applications and claimed compositions comprising crocin, crocetin or safranal as the main active component were selected and analysed.

Results: Maximum patenting activity was noticed towards the use of these bioactives in the treatment of neurological disorders followed by multiple uses of the same compound, use in treatment of metabolic disorders and use as cosmeceuticals. Interestingly, there were no patent records related to use of these bioactives in treating infectious disorders.

Conclusion: Our patent analysis points out the populous and less explored uses of saffron bioactives and areas where there is further scope for research and growth. Recently developed synthetic biology approach is contributory in improving availability, consistency and cost effectiveness of saffron bioactives.

Measurement of Scientific Productivity in R&D Sector: Changing paradigm by Rajesh K. Tiwari, R. P. Jeevan Kumar, Alpana Srivastava, Abhishek Kumar (20-31).
Scientific Productivity is a demand of policy makers for a judicious utilization of massive R&D budget allocated and utilized. A huge mass of intellectual assets is employed, which after investing manpower, infrastructure and lab consumables demand for a major outcome which contributes towards building nation's economy. Scientific productivity was only measured through publications or patents. Patents, earmarked as a strong parameter for innovation generation, where, Word Intellectual Property Organisation generated a data on applications for the top 20 offices for patents, where Australia, Brazil and Canada occupied top 3 positions. India ranked 9th with the total patent applications rising from 39762 (2010) to 42854 (2014) i.e. 15%, whereas, it contributes around 2% Patents (innovative productivity) on global scale. Many studies have come forward interestingly within scientific and academic domains in the form of measurement of scientific performance, however, development of productivity indicators and calculation of Scientific Productivity (SP) as a holistic evaluation system is a significant demand. SP, a herculean task is envisaged for productivity analysis and would submit significant factors towards fabricating an effective measurement engine in a holistic manner viable for an individual and organization, being supplementary to each other. This review projects the significance of performance measurement system in R&D through identification and standardization of key parameters. It also includes emphasis on inclusion of standardized parameters, effective for performance measurement which is applicable for scientists, technical staff as well as lab as a facility. This review aims at providing an insight to the evaluators, policy makers, and high level scientific panels to stimulate the scientific intellects on identified indicators so that their work proceeds to generate productive outcome contributing to the economic growth.

Background: Development of a universal cancer vaccine for the prevention of all cancers has been under development for many years. Antiangiogenic cancer vaccines elicit immune responses with the potential of destroying tumor vasculature endothelial cells without affecting vasculature integrity in normal tissues. The methods used in the development of antigen compositions comprising these vaccines have been recently improved and described in this report in the context of SANTAVAC development - the first cancer vaccine based on endothelial cell heterogeneity.

Methods: The present report summarizes data related to SANTAVAC development, including technical key points associated with optimal SANTAVAC production, a description of the composition required for preparing cancer vaccines with the highest predicted efficacy and safety, and a strategy for SANTAVAC large-scale implementation. Patents related to SANTAVAC and other universal cancer vaccines are also described.

Results: SANTAVAC was shown to be the most promising antigen composition for anti-cancer vaccination, allowing for immune targeting of the tumor vasculature in experimental models with a high predicted efficacy (up to 60), where efficacy represents the fold decrease in the number of endothelial cells with a tumor-induced phenotype and directly related to predicted arrest of tumor growth.

Conclusion: The use of SANTAVAC as a universal antigenic composition may spur vaccine development activities resulting in a set of therapeutic or prophylactic vaccines against different types of solid cancers.

Cardioprotector Activity of an Esteroidal Saponin: A Scientific and Technological Prospection by Hercília Maria Lins Rolim, Aldeidia Pereira de Oliveira, Michely Laiany Vieira Moura (42-51).
Background: Cardiovascular diseases are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels that account for a major cause of premature death worldwide. Diosgenin saponin is a steroid for therapeutic application in different clinical settings such as cardiovascular diseases, hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia control, antimicrobial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory agent. The aim of the study was to conduct a systematic review of Diosgenin, its pharmaceutical applications and perspectives on the application in the cardiovascular system diseases.

Methods: Periodic basis ScienceDirect, PubMed and Virtual Health Library were used as well as the European Office of the technological bases Patent Office, World Intellectual Property Organization, the Office US Patent and Trademark Office and the Brazilian database National Institute of Industrial Property. The keywords used were Diosgenin, cardiovascular system, hypertension, atherosclerosis and dyslipidemia and their correlations in English and Portuguese, with publications from January 2010 to June 2015.

Results: After analysis of the technological and scientific bases, the results show that there is a limited number of patents showing that the Diosgenin action on the cardiovascular system is centered in the areas for chemical studies of steroid Diosgenin. In the scientific basis, the results show that there is an interesting Diosgenin action on the cardiovascular system.

Conclusion: Therefore, studies with Diosgenin are promising on account of its significant pharmacological potential from scientific and technological viewpoints, reaching for a technology transfer to generate economic and industrial growth.

Patents in Nanobiotechnology: A Cross Jurisdictional Approach by Ramesh Kumar Bonta, Shailaja Uppala, Padmavati Manchikanti (52-70).
Background: Bionanomaterials create new opportunities for advancing medical sciences and diseases treatment in relation to human health care. Innovations in the use of such nanomaterials and nanodevices can lead to significant improvements in the use of drugs/devices.

Objective: The present study attempts to analyse patenting trends in different areas and compare the patentability criteria and the disclosure norms for nanobiotechnology inventions in countries such as US, EU and India in the field of diagnostics and therapeutics.

Method: Nanobiotechnology patents were identified based on the search using IPC/CPC as well as keywords conducted on Relecura (a web-based patent and portfolio analysis platform). Growth of filing/ grants and by area was analysed. Comparative analysis of the patentability criteria was done to identify challenges in prosecution of nanobiotechnology applications.

Result: US, China, followed by Europe are top patent filing countries in nanobiotechnology. Topic maps indicate medicinal preparations to be the major area of patenting. There is an increase in patenting in BRIC since 2000. The assessment of novelty, inventive step and specific disclosure norms in different jurisdictions related to nanobiotechnology inventions reveal challenges in patent prosecution.

Conclusion: 79% of the overall nanobiotechnology patents are from the medicinal preparation area followed by a significant number in case of diagnostic and surgical applications. The upward trend in patenting indicates to the potential of inventions in the field of diagnostics. The development of objective and subjective criteria with respect to patentability indicates to elaborate patent office practice and prosecution in this area.