On April 6, 2020, KEI received a response from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to a letter we sent to DHHS Secretary Alex Azar on March 13, 2020 regarding three areas in Section 202 of the Bayh-Dole Act that require action to ensure sufficient rights in patents on coronavirus-relevant inventions. The response received originated from the NIH Office of Science Policy, and was signed by Mark Rohrbaugh, Special Advisor for Technology Transfer.
The letter largely highlighted the efforts underway to support COVID-19-related research at the NIH, and in particular, at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and also acknowledged the authorities available to the NIH as identified in the KEI letter.
Critically, at the close of the brief letter, Mr. Rohrbaugh noted:
“The NIH will consider the use of all its authorities, including the ones you identified, to hasten the goal of identifying safe and effective technologies to treat and prevent COVID-19 infections.”
As the NIH moves forward in its own efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and in close collaboration with industry, KEI will continue to advocate for the NIH to use all its available authorities to ensure that any diagnostic, vaccine, or treatment for COVID-19 is affordable and accessible to the public.
The full response letter from the NIH is available here.
More information on the Bayh-Dole Section 202 options and the March 13th letter to Secretary Azar are available here.