Introduction: This article provides a global overview of patent deposits for broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs), which have emerged as a key strategy for HIV cure and future HIV vaccines. Scientific and technological barriers to the discovery of an effective HIV vaccine in the last 40 years have raised concerns on the potential for relevant advances in this area. Nevertheless, recent breakthrough studies have identified novel immune pathways for new innovative HIV vaccine and HIV cure strategies.
Areas covered: In our patent study, we have identified in a global scale, in the last decade, a sharp increase in the number of bNAbs' patent deposits related to HIV prevention and treatment strategies, reaching 90 bNAbs in 2017, protected by 184 different patent deposits. Refining our patent search to the different stages of bNAbs' development has also allowed us to identify 12 of them already at clinical stage of research (VRC01, 10E8, 3BNC117, 10-1074, 2G12, 2F5, KD-247, 4E10, PG9, PGDM1400, PGT121, and VRC07). We describe these recent breakthroughs and discuss the prospects and limitations of these novel strategies.
Expert opinion: Our results indicate the intellectual property outcomes of a scientific revolution in this field, expressing innovative modifications in antibodies to increase their potency and half-life, which have resulted in extremely potent antibodies that could provide novel preventive and therapeutic HIV strategies.
Keywords: HIV cure; HIV vaccine; bNAbs; intellectual property; patents.