Intellectual property

The critical importance of IP in drug discovery: a Pfizer case study

June 6 2017

Pfizer improves Patent Search 10-fold with Linguamatics I2E

Intellectual property is critical in the drug discovery process. Before initiating any new project it is important to understand the patent landscape around any particular disease area, check if there is freedom-to-operate, and assess patentability. The business case to assess commercial viability for a project must cover not just the biology, such as “is there unmet medical need” but also, “what is the IP position”.

Streamlining patent research with natural language processing (NLP) text mining

So, scientists and researchers need to be able to access the information on genes and diseases in patents. But patents can be hundreds of pages long and contain complex information constructions and interconnected facts.  Manual patent research is a time-consuming and costly process. More and more pharma companies, such as Pfizer, are looking to NLP text mining to keep up to date with their patent literature.

Pfizer researchers use Linguamatics Life Science Platform powered by I2E to find patents relating to specific diseases. The results feed a database to visualize gene targets, invention type, competitor organizations and overall patent “relevancy”. 

Pfizer license Linguamatics Life Science patent mining solution, and have developed queries to effectively search the largest patent databases (USPTO, EPO, and WIPO) for diseases and gene targets. Linguamatics patent solution is cloud-based, and indexes the patents from these registries against standardized vocabularies and natural-language entities. The workflow is automated, using Linguamatics I2E web services API to run the queries, extract and process the results, which are then loaded into an internal database. The results are shared broadly across Pfizer’s R&D team via a user-friendly web interface with visual analytics and data retrieval.

Linguamatics Life Science patent mining solution delivers a much greater number of relevant patents, with similar or better accuracy than standard, manual research. Using this workflow, Pfizer is able to:

  • dramatically improve the comprehensiveness of patent mining results by 10-fold

  • speed up the process, and thereby save time and reduce costs

  • keep more up-to-date on recent findings in the literature.

Download the case study