The costs of progressing medical breakthroughs through the clinical trials process to reach patients in need are extremely high, and as an investment there is an extraordinary level of financial risk involved.
For a commercial entity to undertake a development program, there needs to be a significant incentive. The patent system, along with other forms of intellectual property (IP) protection, provides such an incentive; without protection of IP it is extremely difficult to source commercial funding.
Therefore, it is vital that you identify and protect your IP early in development.
A key point to remember is:
YOU MUST PATENT BEFORE YOU PUBLISH!
Any type of communication of your work without an obligation of confidentiality in place will prevent you from getting a patent. Contact the TTO early to discuss an IP strategy, to put confidentiality provisions in place with potential collaborators and investors, and to get started on the patent filing process.