Technologies used to detect doping are once again in the limelight as the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, which prohibits around 400 such drugs, is just two weeks away.
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), about 50 out of all the listed doping drugs banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency are biopharmaceutical products. The majority of them are peptide hormones such as erythropoietin (EPO), growth hormone (hGH), and, insulin-like growth factors (IGF-1).
|The Korean Intellectual Property Office says patent applications for technologies used to detect new biopharmaceutical doping drugs , which has long been a problem in major sporting events, is on the rise.|
The prohibited biopharmaceutical products, however, are similar to proteins found in the human body and excreted in small amounts through the urine, making it difficult to detect in doping tests.
"Bio-doping using various bio-inhibiting drugs, which are difficult to distinguish from substances in vivo, has become a problem in various sporting events,” said Shin Kyung-ah, KIPO’s bio-drug examiner.
Considering the problem, the KIPO noted that patent applications related to analytical techniques that detect these bio-doping products are once more on the rise.
According to the office, patent applications related to analytical techniques that use antibodies that selectively bind only to doping drugs rose rapidly in two years, marking a near 40 percent increase between 2015 and 2017.
KIPO noted that foreigners made around 80 percent of all applications, a trend most likely attributable to global biotechnology companies actively researching and investing the field of antibodies.
The growth of the specialized biotechnology industry is likely to continue into the future due to the development of next-generation diagnostic technology.
Patent applications for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-analyzing antibodies were the most numerous, accounting for 90 cases. The next most common was an IGF-1-detecting antibodies hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)-detecting antibodies, according to KIPO.
“Patent applications for advanced bio-analysis technology capable of accurately analyzing prohibited bio-drugs are expected to increase in the future,” Shin added.
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