IP Protection Is a Challenge in the Life Sciences Industry

18. November 2014

Intellectual property (IP) is the most important asset for any company in the life sciences industry. From the research and development stage to financing and licensing, life sciences companies need a way to simultaneously share sensitive information and maintain confidentiality.


Intellectual property (IP) is the most important asset for any company in the life sciences industry. A lot of time, effort, and money are invested into the research and development of any new drug or biomedical device—as such, a company’s IP is invaluable and keeping it out of the wrong hands is paramount. However, from the R&D stage to financing and licensing, life sciences companies often need to be able to share sensitive information both inside and outside of an organisation while maintaining confidentiality at the same time.

Drooms has been supporting leading life sciences companies, such as BASF, Siemens, MerLion Pharmaceuticals, and Novartis, for many years by providing a software platform that allows for the secure exchange of confidential documents. Often, in addition to other employees within a decentralised organisation, third parties such as investors, consultants, or partners also will need access to a company’s sensitive information.

With this many players involved, keeping confidential data secure can be a challenge, particularly when a company is looking for funding. According to a recent PwC survey, 64 percent of pharmaceuticals and life sciences CEOs are “concerned that an inability to protect intellectual property will hamper growth”. Additionally, Verizon’s “2013 Data Breach Investigations Report” found that IP comprised 20 percent of all compromised data obtained online, and the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property estimated that losses tied to international IP theft totalled up to $300 million a year in the United States alone.

So what can companies do? There are a number of appropriate measures that can be taken to secure intellectual property. A combination of organisational adaptations, legal agreements, and IT solutions is most effective and typically includes access authorisation limitations, non-disclosure agreements, and using software solutions such as virtual data rooms (VDR). VDRs can be used for exchanging confidential research documents, managing financing and licensing projects, and performing/ completing due diligence. Life sciences companies use them to maintain strict confidentiality, secure funding faster, and speed up the process of bringing their IP assets to market—which can be invaluable in today’s competitive environment.

As the industry continues to innovate and evolve, protecting IP will continue to be one of the highest priorities for life sciences companies, especially as the market gets more competitive and data breaches become more common.