It's a great honor for me to be invited to deliver the Levine Distinguished Lecture at Fordham, and a great opportunity to try out some new ideas before this audience. As some of you know, I've been studying the role of patents in biomedical research and product development ("R&D") for close to twenty years now, with a particular focus on how patents work in "upstream" research in universities and biotechnology companies that are working on research problems that arise prior to "downstream" product development. But, of course, the patent strategies of these institutions are designed around the profits that everyone hopes will flow from downstream products, and the most lucrative of those products are drugs. If a biotechnology company looks for a while like they are up to something other than staking out claims that will permit them to tap into drug profits, they often eventually seem to change their business model, or else they get folded into a company that is more squarely focused on profiting from drug development. So much of the impetus for private sector investment in biomedical R&D turns out to be about drug development.
Eisenberg, Rebecca S. "Patents, Product Exclusivity, and Information Dissemination: How Law Directs Biopharmaceutical Research and Development." Fordham L. Rev. 72, no. 3 (2003): 477-91.