Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, affects around 18 per cent of both adults and children in Australia and New Zealand.

Despite its name, allergic rhinitis is not caused by hay and does not result in fever. It is caused by the nose and/or eyes coming into contact with environmental allergens, such as pollens, dust mite, moulds and animal hair.

What is the relationship to Patent Data?

Patent data is powerful in determining the commercial relevance of the work in a particular field. This is because a patent is a right granted for any device, substance, method or process that is new, inventive and useful. Through the analysis of data associated with patents, it is possible to measure aspects of inventive activity such as scope, intensity, collaboration and impact.

The analysis of patents is a way of assessing a research area of interest. It provides valuable insights for researchers working in the field, increasing understanding of the intellectual property system and enabling researchers to make decisions which maximise the benefit of their innovation.

Pollen and patents

The Patent Analytics Report: Pollen Allergens uses the scale and intensity of patent activity to provide an overview of innovation in the area of Pollen Allergens.

For patients with severe allergies, who may not respond well to usual therapeutic approaches such as sprays and oral or topical antihistamines, immunotherapy is a viable option.

Immunotherapy for allergic rhinitis involves repeated administration of high doses of allergen, such as grass pollen, with the aim of inducing clinical and immunological tolerance in the recipient.

Analysis of patent data on different pollen species gives an indication on which species are considered the most commercially relevant.

The findings

  • Three of the top four applicants that file patents, ALK Abello, Biomay and Stallergenes specialise in allergy immunotherapy products.
  • ALK Abello files the most patents in pollen allergens.
  • Birch, Poaceae, Ryegrass, Timothy grass and Japanese cedar are the most commercially significant.
  • Once an allergen has been cloned there is not significant follow-on patenting activity for that allergen.
  • Monash University has a patent family relating to Bermuda grass antigens.
  • The patent landscape of pollen allergens is concentrated around pollen vaccines in commercial development.
  • Despite a low number of patents overall, the majority of these still had at least one active filing, indicating the commercial relevance of the work.
  • The highest number of filings are in the US and Japan.
  • Australia has the third number of filings per country, with similar numbers of applications to Canada and China.

Biggest filers

US applicants file the most patents in this space.

While US entities file the most, they are not any of the top individual filers.

European countries: Denmark Austria, Germany, and Spain all feature strongly (represented by ALK Abello, Biomay AG, Merck Group and Phadia AB).

This means, while US has the greatest share of patent applications, the most significant applicants are European.

Australia is the equal 12th filer with Belgium and China.

The Patent Analytics Hub

The report was produced by IP Australia’s Patent Analytics Hub which aims to help Australian innovators make the most of their intellectual property (IP).

The Patent Analytics Hub translates the world’s vast patent literature into useable information to help government agencies, publicly funded research organisations such as universities, medical research institutes and cooperative research centres with research, development, collaboration and commercialisation.

24 October 2017