Innovation Under Siege: A Conversation on the Potential WTO TRIPS Waiver

Tuesday, December 12, 2023 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET

Video Webinar

Event Summary

A remarkable alliance between our companies, universities, and federal laboratories catalyzed the development of hundreds of Covid-19-related technologies, often led by small companies taking considerable risks. Many of these innovations are still in development — and have applications beyond Covid-19 opening new frontiers in the fight against disease.

Unfortunately, a pending proposal at the World Trade Organization could upend that system by allowing competitors like China to ignore patent rights so they can copy these life-saving products. This effort is based on the false premise that patent rights — critical to our success — are the reason developing nations lack access to these therapies.

WTO members are considering whether to suspend the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for Covid-19 diagnostics and therapeutics, effectively nullifying IP protections for these groundbreaking innovations. The Biden administration will soon decide where to come down on this critical issue.

To discuss the short and long-term impacts of this decision, the Bayh-Dole Coalition hosted a webinar on Tuesday, December 12, 2023.

Read the full transcript of the video webinar here.


Joseph P. Allen, Moderator

Joe is Executive Director of the Bayh-Dole Coalition. As a professional staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee to Sen. Birch Bayh (D-IN), he played a key role in successfully passing the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 and its subsequent amendments. He later served as the director of the Office of Technology Commercialization at the Department of Commerce, which oversaw the implementation of Bayh-Dole and chaired the Interagency Committee on Technology Transfer.

Erik Iverson

Erik Iverson is CEO of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), a nonprofit, mission-driven organization supporting scientific research and technology transfer at UW–Madison. Prior to joining WARF, Iverson served as an executive in organizations committed to health technology development and entrepreneurial efforts that positively impact people worldwide, including the Infectious Disease Research Institute and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Iverson founded the first biotechnology startup company in Africa, Afrigen Biologics & Vaccines, and served on the IP advisory committee to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce on international trade negotiations as well as an expert to the World Health Organizations on issues relating to access to medicines.

Jennifer C. Cheng, Ph.D

Jennifer Cheng is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of PTM Therapeutics, a pre-clinical stage startup developing antibody therapeutics against post-translational modification targets with programs in Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Oncology. Prior to founding PTM, Cheng held positions at Adverum Biotechnologies, Allergan, Solazyme, Raven Biotechnologies, and Genentech. She received a B.A. in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley, a Ph.D. in tumor cell biology and molecular medicine from Northwestern University, and a J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law.

Lindsay Androski

Lindsay Androski chairs the Board of Directors for Incubate, an organization of life-science investors that works to educate policymakers on the role of venture capital in bringing promising treatments to patients in need. Androski also serves as President and CEO of Roivant Social Ventures, a social impact organization that she founded focused on partnering with innovative companies, institutes, and organizations to promote systemic, sustained improvements to the way health care is accessed and delivered.