Dutch firm Lead Pharma develops drugs to combat cancer and autoimmune diseases. To be able to quickly introduce a commercially promising innovation to the market, Lead Pharma often works together with partners.
“If we enter into a partnership agreement, then V.O. makes sure that valorisation is always guaranteed,” explains CEO of Lead Pharma, Ad van Gorp.
Van Gorp asks, “How can we demonstrate and therefore valorise the knowledge that we contribute to the innovation as a whole? That is the key question we ask for each partnership, which in turn forms a crucial part of a partnership agreement. Within a partnership, you need to deal with concerns, but also emotions. What starts off as enthusiasm can sometimes turn into disappointment if there is an obstacle or difference of opinion. In our experience, if you do not make firm agreements on intellectual property (IP) at the outset, then it will be almost impossible to rectify the issue further down the line. Without our patent attorneys and lawyers at V.O., we would be unable to consistently define and monitor this properly.”
Frits Michiels is the V.O. patent attorney for firms including Lead Pharma, and echoes Van Gorp’s sentiments: “You wouldn’t really think much of setting out a partnership in a well thought-out agreement. I often see companies entering into partnerships with each other, assuming they will remain on good terms. Then they get a standard agreement from a website and that’s that. But not every partnership runs so smoothly and if there is disagreement, then a solid agreement is of huge importance. You will often find that the standard agreement that you used offers no solution to the problems encountered. Of course, we also find ourselves in a similar situation with our customers. But our advice is, above all, to create a customised agreement for every partnership. This ensures to the fullest extent possible that everything is in good order, even if nothing ever comes of it.”
A well thought-out strategy
“You need people familiar with the intricacies of the law and who at the same time are able to properly look after your IP interests,” concludes Van Gorp. “The combination of legal and IP expertise that V.O. offers is the determining factor for us. A lawyer with a general background may be able to help improve the quality of contracts, but what is then lacking is a purposeful, thought-out strategy for your IP. That determines whether you will ultimately succeed in translating your ideas, technology and patents into value.”