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As discussed in our previous article, the BRPTO has already published a number of studies on technologies related to the new Coronavirus (patent applications directed to methods for diagnosing respiratory viruses, pulmonary ventilators, and research related to the drug Remdesivir).

A further notable development is a new study by the BRPTO regarding the so called Cytokine Inhibitors drugs Tocilizumab (developed by the Japanese pharmaceutical company Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., in partnership with Roche) and Sarilumab (by Sanofi and Regeneron in Canada), and their possible application against Covid-19. Both Tocilizumab and Sarilumab, have been undergoing clinical trials and showing promising results in the treatement of Covid-19.

The study identified 130 patent documents related to Tocilizumab filed in Brazil. The vast majority belong to the company Chugai Seiyaku, developer of the antibody, with around 77% having a filing date between 2011 and 2018. The search for Sarilumab related patent documents on the other hand retrieved 21 patent documents, 11 of which belong to the North American company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc, the developer of the antibody (there are also three applications from Sanofi Biotecnology, which are co-owned with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals). Patent applications related to sarilumab are more recent than Tocilizumab, with 14 of the 21 applications having a filing date between 2016-2018. Only one application has already been decided to date.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that last April, the BRPTO published a Rule prioritizing patent applications related to the Covid-19 pandemic. The examination of such applications may be accelerated by request filed by the applicant and the Brazilian Ministry of Health. The latter is currently responsible for almost 79% of the requests.

In May 2020, the BRPTO received a letter from the Ministry of Health requesting the prioritization of the examination of patent applications related to some drugs that have been proposed for the treatment of COVID-19, among these were some requests for the medications Tocilizumab and Sarilumab. Of the 21 patent applications related to Sarilumab, eight had priority for examination granted by the BRPTO and one has already been decided. Of the applications related to Tocilizumab with priority processing requested by the Ministry of Health, 22 patent applications were prioritized for examination by the BRPTO. Another three Tocilizumab related patent applications had already been given priority, through application by the depositor. This means a total 25 patents related to Tocilizumab have now been granted priority examination by the BRPTO.

The full study (in Portuguese) can be accessed here.

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