Module 2

Whose idea is it anyway?

Demystifying intellectual property

DATE: 7 December 2023 (virtual – 16:00-18:00 GMT)

Genomics and biodata business ideas, and especially those emanating from research institutes, have intellectual property (IP) and issues surrounding the ownership of that IP embedded within them, so here we:

  • Introduce the different types of intellectual property within genomics and biodata
  • Investigate who owns the IP you are developing as a researcher – what rights do you have?
  • Debate what to do when you have an idea – patent or publish?
  • Discuss strategies to create value from genomics and biodata IP
  • Explore the issues of protecting IP within software and when working with open science and public data
  • Utilise tools and frameworks to help you understand your IP position right from the start.

Birgit Kerber, Head of Innovation and Translation, EMBL-EBI

Birgit Kerber has been actively engaged in establishing technology transfer at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) more than 18 years ago and has since held various positions at EMBL’s technology transfer arm, EMBLEM. She is currently responsible for business development at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and business development lead for Open Targets, a public-private partnership with EMBL-EBI, the Wellcome Sanger Institute, GSK, Takeda, BMS, and Sanofi. Birgit has been engaged in managing and licensing intellectual property with biotech and large pharma companies as customers as well as starting companies out of EMBL. She holds a diploma in biology from Philipps-University Marburg, did her Ph.D. work at the Max-Planck-Institute for biophysical chemistry in Goettingen, and a postdoc at EMBL Heidelberg. She is a member of BIO Deutschland and the Licensing Executives Society as well as an alumna of St Gallen Business School, CEIPI, Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds, DFG, and EMBO.

Emmanuelle Astoul, Head of Technology Translation, Wellcome Sanger Institute

Emmanuelle heads the business development function in the Innovation Team at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, a role focussed on bridging the gap between discoveries arising from Sanger research and their exploitation in the real world. Emmanuelle is passionate about encouraging scientists to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to translate genomic science into innovative medicine. She founded a special training programme focused on commercialising genomics that covers everything from ethical use of data to regulatory and reimbursement strategies. Emmanuelle spent 10 years in academic business development roles between Wellcome and Sanger, and has also managed IP strategy, partnering and marketing/communication for a highly innovative company developing a new class of RNA therapeutics, Transine Therapeutics.

Gary P. Dillon, Business Development Manager, Wellcome Sanger Institute

Gary obtained his BSc. in Biochemistry at York in 2002, going on to study a Ph.D. in Parasitology, also at York. As a post-doc, he worked at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, before moving to Abcam in 2010. Gary became Abcam’s Head of R&D in 2013, a role that bridged science and business during a period of rapid growth for the company. In this context, Gary directed teams from across the globe, and across scientific biological and chemistry disciplines to develop some of Abcam’s most difficult to derive products (e.g. anti-RNA modifications). Working closely with commercial teams to Gary also helped to build business cases that set company R&D strategy, and provided technical due diligence for acquisitions (e.g. AxioMx) and IP. He has now returned to the Wellcome Sanger Institute to apply his industrial experience by helping scientists commercialise and share their ideas for the benefit of society.

Mariya Chhatriwala, Business develeopment Manager, Wellcome Sanger Institute
Mariya Chhatriwala, Business Development Associate, Wellcome Sanger Institute

Mariya is a post-doctoral level scientist with over 10 years of hands-on experience in various scientific disciplines including genetic regulation, stem cell biology, next-generation sequencing, and protein biochemistry. She joined the Sanger in 2013 as a staff scientist and transitioned into the role of senior scientific manager.  In 2019, she joined the Innovation and Enterprise team at the Sanger to leverage her scientific expertise toward successful commercial development and dissemination of the cutting-edge research taking place at the Institute as she believes this is the best way for these ideas to contribute to healthcare solutions.

Agnieszka Wabik, Business Development Associate, Wellcome Sanger Institute

Aga obtained her BSc in Genetics from Edinburgh University and PhD in Cancer and Stem Cells at the University of Cambridge. Part of her PhD and a short post-doc work took place at Wellcome Sanger Institute. Throughout her academic and extracurricular work at Cambridge, she was actively involved in the Cambridge Cluster. During her PhD, she joined the Global Innovation Forum Ltd, where she acted as COO for the Innovation Leaders Conference bringing together industry executives, entrepreneurs, scientists and policymakers and set up the Imagine IF! Business Idea Competition. After her PhD, she went on supporting the development and implementation of the scientific strategy while working at the Experimental Cancer Medicines Centres Network at Cancer Research UK. Aga has now returned to the Wellcome Sanger Institute following her passion for science where she leverages her scientific background and previous expertise to help scientists commercialise and share their ideas to provide cutting edge healthcare solutions.

Christina Bohm, Intellectual Property Manager, EMBLEM

Christina Boehm joined EMBL’s technology transfer arm, EMBLEM, as an Intellectual Property Manager in 2018. She holds a diploma in biology from University of Vienna (Austria), did her Ph.D. work at Imperial College London (U.K), and a postdoc at DKFZ Heidelberg (Germany). She has worked in academia, industry and a patent law firm before joining EMBLEM, where she is primarily engaged in identifying, protecting and managing intellectual property.