It is often the case that an inventor identifies a new biochemical target and obtains knock-out/knock-down data to demonstrate the target’s involvement in a metabolic pathway.
From a scientific perspective, such a discovery could be highly significant; but from a patent perspective, consideration needs to be given to what will eventually be commercialised − because the patents will need to cover such commercial products or methods.
It must first be recognised that the main commercial interest in such inventions is unlikely to be the target − it will be the compounds (e.g. agonists or antagonists) which bind to the target. Ultimately, it will be those compounds which are sold as medicaments.
In terms of patenting such inventions, there are two main strategies, depending on whether the invention has been made in a commercial or an academic context.