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Life science intellectual property strategy in China (and beyond)

Chris Seper

Entrepreneur Sofie Qiao’s last startup, LEAD Therapeutics, which in 2010 was purchased for $97 million, was successful for a few reasons. Among them: LEAD built its success around leveraging a lower-cost but high-value research and development team based in China while targeting small molecule therapeutics (with significant success around oncology).

Today, Qiao says any life science company needs to figure out an intellectual property strategy in China if they want to receive significant private investment. But, she added, early-stage companies have little to fear about the issues around intellectual property theft in China.

Early-stage, preclinical drugs are too expensive to develop -- and to steal.

Qiao discussed intellectual property issues at the Kauffman Foundation’s Life Science Ventures Summit. And she said she isn’t only focused on geographic concerns. Intellectual property is also about domain expertise. So as she developed intellectual property for LEAD, she made sure she had a patent attorney who had degrees and background in organic chemistry.

“The scientist and the attorney can actually have the same language to speak,” she said.

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