Freehills Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys attend leading immunology conference

Date: 2009-02-11
Authors: Tom Gumley & Adam Denley

Tom Gumley and Adam Denley from the biotechnology and pharmaceuticals patents group at Freehills Patent Attorneys recently attended the 38th Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Immunology (ASI). The conference was an opportunity for them to reconnect with Australia’s best immunologists and to update their knowledge on the latest developments in immunology.

Keeping abreast of immunological trends

ASI encompasses a broad range of scientists drawn from industry, academia and clinics with interests in cellular and molecular immunology in humans and animals. By interacting with the scientists in the field of immunology, Freehills keeps up-to-date with the latest advances in this rapidly progressing field of research.

In our business, continuing legal education is not enough. You also have to continue to develop your understanding of technology and the state of the art to provide clients with the best advice,’ said Gumley.

‘It is critical for us to identify trends in research or new areas of technological discovery so we can be well equipped to provide valuable advice for our clients as new inventions are developed in these areas,’ said Denley. Denley was a post doctoral research fellow at The Scripps Research Institute and he is an example of Freehills commitment to retaining hi-tech people to service hi-tech clients in the biotech space.

‘At Freehills we work with researchers from academia and industry to protect inventions arising from biological research, and a large number of these inventions stem from molecular or cellular immunology,’ said Denley. ‘Often these inventions are diagnostic or therapeutic antibodies or new vaccines. We are also seeing an interplay with stem cell sciences.’

Drug resistant pathogens – an area to watch

There was a lot to take in at this year’s conference. ‘What was evident was the focus on developing new vaccines and novel ways to improve the effectiveness of existing vaccines,’ continued Denley.

There were a lot of presentations on understanding the mechanism of infection by viruses, bacteria and parasites. ‘This is an important area to understand because of the recent emergence of drug resistant pathogens, in particular, bacteria. It has forced scientists to better understand how infection occurs in an effort then to design better antibiotics,’ said Denley.

Investing in the scientific community

‘Many researchers do not know that they have something which is patentable, so we see our involvement at the conference as an opportunity to educate the wider scientific community on how to identify potential intellectual property,’ said Gumley. ‘It’s a two way street. We learn more about what they are doing and they learn from our expertise in patents and intellectual property.’