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Cleveland Biolabs is big in Buffalo, trying to make it big in China

China's patent office recently awarded Cleveland Biolabs intellectual property rights for their anti-radiation reaserch and products.
via Flickr
China's patent office recently awarded Cleveland Biolabs intellectual property rights for their anti-radiation reaserch and products.

While Cleveland Biolabs (headquartered in Buffalo) continues seeking approval of its anti-radiation drug CBLB502 from the Food and Drug Administration, the pharmaceutical company is beginning to seek markets and protection of its ideas in other countries.

The State Intellectual Property Office of the People in China has granted the company patents for “allowed claims cover[ing] the method of protecting a mammal from radiation,” or essentially, what CBLB502 does. The company is seeking lock down its potentially lucrative research from imitators abroad as their flagship medicine attemptsto make its way through the proper channels before legal approval.

To review: CBLB502 is a drug in development that would be employed in the case of a nuclear or dirty bomb explosion to treat people exposed to radiation. It’s been getting buzz for years in medical and investment circles. The FDA has fast-tracked the medication because it serves an unmet need. Approval is far from a certainty, though.

So why China and why now – especially since the medicine is still in pharmaceutical purgatory?

China could be a manufacturing site for CBLB502, if it’s approved. Company brass have told me there’s the potential to manufacture millions, maybe tens of millions, of doses of the drug. They are looking to sell the medicine (if approved) to countries “friendly” with the United States.

China is a huge market (duh). Not to mention its position as a country with enemies, who is this age, could attack large population centers with nuclear or dirty bomb.

Business for this Buffalo-based company could potentially explode if CBLB502 is deemed effective. Not that the company is wishing for a nuclear blast (they adamantly state they hope their medicine is never used for this purpose),but many counterterrorism measures not only involve the prevention of attacks but containment of the ones that occur.

That’s why millions of doses of CBLB502 will likely be sitting on shelves in government warehouses in a few years. These new patents in China are one more step on the path to that happening, wherever the warehouses are located.

This announcement will also likely grow the company’s business profile. Cleveland Biolabs has also attracted tens of millions of dollars in investment from venture capitalists, the U.S. military, and others. The potential to sell millions of units of an exclusive product to a market like China’s is enough to get investors drooling.

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WBFO/Western New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.