Bloomberg Law
May 21, 2020, 8:50 AM

Cutting-Edge Covid Treatments Owe Development to Carter-Era Law

Valerie Bauman
Valerie Bauman

The most promising Covid-19 treatments and vaccines being explored right now were made possible by a little-known law that encourages licensing agreements between private pharmaceutical companies and government-funded researchers.

Treatments such as Gilead’s remdesivir, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics’ EIDD-2801 drug, and Moderna’s vaccine candidate were all achieved through public-private partnerships that didn’t exist before the Bayh-Dole Act in 1980.

The law, best known for giving the government the never-used authority to seize licensing rights for any product funded by taxpayer dollars, changed the pharmaceutical industry dramatically. It made it possible for drug companies to profit when they license new inventions from universities, ...

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