The Law of the Lab: Using Zerit to Inform Technology Transfer
Michaelson, Andrew Z.
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CitationThe Law of the Lab: Using Zerit to Inform Technology Transfer (2002 Third Year Paper)
AbstractThe author takes a comprehensive look at the governmentâ€™s policy of technology transfer, the process by which government-funded inventions are transferred to the private sector for commercialization. Emphasis is placed on biomedical R&D and, in particular, on pharmaceutical drugs. The author describes how the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 fundamentally altered the governmentâ€™s approach to tech transfer. He explains why the Act is viewed as a success, and presents the three most significant current debates over the policyâ€™s future. These debates, the author argues, can be informed by careful study of how tech transfer operates in practice. For this reason, the author then presents, in narrative form, the development of Zerit, an effective AIDS medication supported by government funding and then transferred to Bristol-Myers Squibb for commercialization. This narrative is then used by the author to inform the three current debates over tech transfer. The author finds that the Bayh-Dole Act is generally successful, but that the government should do more to ensure that taxpayers are maximizing the return on their investment. The author also finds that the government should take greater care to consider not only international trade, but also public health, national security and ethical responsibility, when deciding whether to exercise government rights to taxpayer-funded inventions.
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