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‘Inventions’ to tackle cancer up by 70% globally since 2015


European Patent Office says technological innovation driven by European and US funding schemes

The number of ‘inventions’ to tackle cancer surged by 70 per cent between 2015 to 2021, according to the European Patent Office.

On 1 February it published the results of a study into the number of international patent families (IPFs) related to cancer, finding a compound annual growth rate of over 9 per cent during the study period.

Growth was driven by “accelerated…developments in cancer treatment technologies such as immunotherapy [and] gene therapy…but also in cancer diagnostics…and healthcare informatics”, it said.

The technology development was itself backed by “essential” funding programmes like the US’s Cancer Moonshot and Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, which was presented in 2021 and pulls together €4 billion to try to improve cancer diagnosis, treatment and survival rates.

The US was described as a “strong leader”, responsible for almost half of the IPFs from 2002 to 2021, followed by the EU on 18 per cent and Japan on 9 per cent. In Europe, Germany led the way, followed by the UK, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

The EPO announced it had launched a searchable platform to find patents related to cancer. This platform is the fourth of its kind, alongside ones for coronaviruses, clean energy and firefighting.