Sakura Holloway, IP & Commercialisation Specialist
formerly of Benitec Biopharma Limited, of Garvan Institute of Medical Research, and of Cephalon
As the IP Manager at Cephalon my role involved the management of the entire IP portfolio of the company. Handling IP in an industry role means ensuring that strategy for IP development and prosecution very closely mirrors the company’s R&D and commercial focus. In this respect my key responsibilities included working closely with the R&D group to maintain an understanding of the products and technology in development, and with business development to assess commercial value of internal projects, as well as assessing in-licensing and M&A opportunities from an IP perspective.
My managers and I realised that the strength of the Cephalon IP portfolio could benefit significantly by having an IP Manager who was highly trained in the practice of a patent attorney in the biotechnology field. Having completed the necessary coursework for patent attorney qualifications it became increasingly clear I would benefit from exposure to an IP specialist firm environment. The key benefit of having an in-house patent attorney was to support the dynamic R&D environment at Cephalon by providing IP advice and structure to protect the development of projects to products and key technologies.
The long-standing relationship between Cephalon and FB Rice provided the opportunity for a training secondment under the supervision of Dr. Jenny Petering, in the biotechnology group at FB Rice. Over a 12 month period I spent three days a week at FB Rice getting extensive exposure to the firm’s practice and all its members, particularly in the biotech team. I’ve gained an understanding in the organisation and practice of an IP firm and have also been able to share my knowledge of in-house practice with members of the team, particularly in areas of commercial strategy and clinical development of biological products.
My training at FB Rice provided relevant experience for registration as a patent attorney and focussed on local and overseas patent prosecution, patent searching, FTO advice and patent drafting. This was an invaluable experience in understanding client relationships from an IP service providers’ perspective. I also gained a deeper understanding of the patent prosecution process which was brought back in-house to tailor Cephalon's patent portfolio management.