Drug development for cryptococcosis treatment: what can patents tell us?


Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz




BACKGROUND Cryptococcosis is one of the most devastating fungal infections in humans. Despite the disease’s clinical importance, current therapy is based on limited antifungals that are either toxic, inefficient, unavailable worldwide, or that quickly lead to resistance. OBJECTIVES The goal of this study was to provide insight into the future of cryptococcosis treatment by describing the patent scenario in this field. METHODS We identified and analysed patent documents revealing compounds with anti-cryptococcal activity supported by experimental evidence. FINDINGS Patenting in this field has been historically low, with an overall tendency of increase since 2012. Most applications are single filings, suggesting that they do not encompass strategic inventions requiring broad protection. Research and development essentially took place in China and the United States, which also represent the main countries of protection. Both academic and corporate institutions contributed to patenting in this field. Universities are the leading actors, with the highest patent family counts. CONCLUSION The low number of patents in this field indicates that efforts to mitigate the unmet needs for cryptococcosis treatment remain insufficient. Without investment to drive research and innovation, patients will likely continue to face inadequate assistance. Given the current scenario characterised by poor funding and low interest for technological development, drug repurposing may be the best alternative for cryptococcosis treatment.

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