University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) policy of benefit sharing in research on drugs derived from natural products
Prof. Djaja Djendoel Soejarto of UIC presented this paper.
Modern research in the discovery of biologically active compounds from natural sources, with particular reference to plants, as potential candidates for drug development, has been ongoing at UIC for the past twenty-five years. Presently there are two possible schemes for sharing the benefits.
The first scheme is exemplified by a project, in which a group of UIC faculty collaborates with a group of counterpart scientists or an institution in a biodiversity-rich country, which also supplies the plant genetic material. If a compound is discovered and patent protection is sought, the co-authorship of the patent will take into account and may include a scientist from that country, as inventors, if this scientist played an inventive role in the invention. Following the filing of the patent by the UIC, licensing of the invention will be offered to a pharmaceutical firm. If eventually a drug goes onto the market as a result of the licensing process, the UIC will receive a stream of royalties. Costs for the original patenting process and for the establishment of a Trust Fund are to be paid by UIC. The net royalty income is then split 50-50 between a common fund and a Trust Fund. Income to go to the Trust Fund is intended solely to be returned to the country of origin of the genetic material, while the common fund is to be distributed as follows: (a) to the collaborating institutions (20%), who will divide the share based on agreed proportions among themselves, namely, between the PCRPS in the US, and the foreign institution or institutions; (b) to the inventors (40%), who will divide this amount among themselves; and (c) to the University of Illinois at Chicago (40%) to cover University expenditures in the form of their researchers’ time, facilities used, and administrative and legal costs. In this scenario, the total amount of funds that will go back to the source country will be: funds from the Trust Fund plus the share of the source country institution, for a total of about 55%, if no inventor share from the source country is involved, or higher, if one or more of the inventors is from the source country institution; the exact percentage will depend upon the number of inventors.
SCHEME 1: ROYALTIES SHARING IN THE EVENT THAT UIC DISCOVERS AND CHARACTERIZES A COMPOUND AND A PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY DEVELOPS THE DRUG
SCHEME 2: ROYALTIES SHARING IN THE EVENT THAT A PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY DISCOVERS A COMPOUND, CHARACTERIZES IT AND DEVELOPS THE DRUG
The second scheme is exemplified by a project, in which a group of UIC faculty collaborates with a counterpart institution, which supplies the genetic material for the drug discovery process, and an industrial partner, in which the industrial partner undertakes both the discovery and the development of the drug. In this scenario, if a drug is discovered and developed by the company, and a product goes onto the market, the UIC will receive royalties from the pharmaceutical company. Again, initial UIC costs are deducted. The net royalty income is then split 50-50 between a common fund and a Trust Fund. Income to go to the Trust Fund is intended solely to be returned to the country of origin of the genetic material, while the common fund is to be distributed as follows: (a) to the collaborating foreign institution (40%); (b) to the PCRPS (20%); and to the University of Illinois at Chicago (40%). A bigger percentage is destined for the collaborating foreign institution to justify research effort, inventiveness equivalent and contribution of the genetic material. In this scenario, the total amount of funds that will go back to the source country will be: funds from the Trust Fund plus the share of the source country institution, for a total of 68% or higher, depending on the total amount of royalty payment.