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Attempts to synthetically recreate the biological circuits in human body is a relatively new area of research within synthetic biology. Ever since the 2010s, the use of molecular “toggle” switches to mimic electronic circuits has been prevalent to understand, alter, and recreate molecular circuits within the human body. The evolution of chemistry and synthetic biology has reached an interesting point as these complex processes, including genetic regulation, expression, and replication are being understood at a molecular level. The prominent elements of these exploratory studies are molecular switches, which are responsive to internal or external stimuli and can be manipulated to create a transition between two stable states when exposed to a change in their optical, electrical, or chemical environment. During the past few years, several molecules have been identified and characterized as “switches”, which are now available for the construction of complex synthetic signaling networks with applications in both biology and nanotechnology. Of the different types of molecules, organic molecules, including proteins, nucleic acids, and cyclic organic compounds, such as crown ethers are likely to be the promising candidates in this field due to their diverse structural, electrical, and mechanical properties. In addition, synthetic molecules, such as Rotaxanes and Catenanes have emerged as potential molecular switches, as the binding sites within these mechanically interlocked molecules can be manipulated upon the application of stimuli, resulting in a shift in their structure and chemistry on cue.
One of the most important applications of molecular switches is to combat the challenges associated with anticancer therapies, like system toxicity, multidrug resistance, poor solubility, and membrane permeability. In order to overcome these drawbacks, researchers have undertaken several R&D efforts for identifying and developing effective treatment modalities. Among other alternatives, the use of Nanocarriers has emerged as a viable option. These nanomaterials encapsulate the drug, essentially warding it off from the surrounding physiological conditions and minimizing the side effects. Upon installation of molecular switches in their structure, these nanocarriers can be manipulated to gravitate towards a specific environment within the body and release the drug, when stimulated. The stimulus can further be manipulated to obtain the desired dosage strength and frequency. The extent of modification in these molecules allows for the use of minute differences in the biochemistry of different tissues as stimuli for targeted delivery of drugs. Simultaneously, with constant evolution in biomedical research and other emerging fields, such as optogenetics, molecular switches are being explored to directly switch the genes “on” and “off”, leading to control over genetic regulation and expression. The potential of gaining control over the molecular architecture and consequently, molecular function has led to a steady increase in the research and entrepreneurial activity in this domain. As a result, the intellectual capital around compositions of molecular switches, engineering techniques, and their application in gene regulation and therapeutic use, has also grown. In light of such developments, it is important to keep track of both pockets of innovation and key areas of improvement for stakeholders to remain competitive in this upcoming field of medicine / drugs. This report captures some of the key R&D-related trends and provides competitive intelligence on intellectual property in the field of molecular switches.
The “Molecular Switches: Intellectual Property Landscape” report features an extensive study of some of the key historical and contemporary intellectual property (IP) documents (featuring granted patents, patent applications and other documents), describing the various types of molecular switch interventions intended to treat a growing range of clinical conditions. The insights generated in this report have been presented across two deliverables, namely a MS Excel workbook and a MS PowerPoint deck, summarizing the ongoing activity in this domain.
Key inclusions are briefly described below:
An analytical perspective of the various patents and affiliated IP documents that have been published related to molecular switches, since 1981. An in-depth analysis of published IP documents, representing unique patent families across various global jurisdictions, featuring insightful inferences related to both historical and recent R&D trends within this niche, but rapidly evolving applications in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry.
An examination of IP literature, shortlisting key words and phrases used to describe molecular switches (and affiliated products) that are either already available in the market, or under development. The analysis also includes details on the historical use of the aforementioned terms across different IP filings, key affiliated terms (which can be used to identify other relevant IP search terms and establish relationships between prior art search expressions), and other related trends.
A competitive benchmarking and valuation analysis of the key members of unique patent families captured in the report, taking into consideration important parameters, such as type of IP document, year of application, time to expiry, number of citations and jurisdiction (factoring in value associated with the gross domestic product (GDP) of a particular region).
A systematic approach to identifying relevant areas of innovation by analyzing published IP documents (representative of unique patent families), by defining the uniqueness of patented / patent pending innovations, in order to assess the scope of patentability in this domain, and pinpoint jurisdictions wherein new and / or modified claims may be filed without infringing on existing IP.
A detailed summary of the various patent applications (representative of unique patent families) that were filed across different jurisdictions and their relative value in the IP ecosystem. The analysis classified the intellectual capital in terms of type of innovation and the innovation (such as a product class, enabling technologies or method of use), thereby, offering the means to identify active arenas of research and assess innovation-specific IP filing trends.
An analysis of the granted patents (representative of unique patent families) across different global jurisdictions and their relative value in the IP ecosystem. The analysis also features a meaningful classification system, segregating granted IP into relevant categories (namely type of innovation and innovation) to help develop a detailed perspective on the diversity of intellectual capital (having marketing exclusivity) related to molecular switches, and the assessing likelihood for innovators to enter into promising research areas.
An insightful analysis of the various CPC codes used in published IP literature (representative of unique patent families) and their affiliated families, offering the means to identify historical and existing pockets of innovation (based on the functional area / industry described by the elaborate and systematic IP classification approach, mentioned earlier); the analysis also features a discussion on prevalent white spaces (based on type of innovation and innovation) in this field of research.
One of the objectives of the report was to analyze and summarize key inferences from the independent claims mentioned in granted, active patents (representative of unique patent families) in the dataset. Using a systematic segregation approach, we have analyzed trends associated with the preamble, type of patent (product patent or method patent), type of claim (open ended claim or closed ended claim) and key elements of a claim (individual aspects of an innovation that are covered in a singular claim).