External study 9 May 2022

Unprecedented: The Rapid Innovation Response to COVID-19 and the Role of Intellectual Property

By CEO Innovation Insights
External study

This report tells the story of how COVID-19 vaccines and treatments were delivered, focusing on the essential enabling role of IP.

It is a story of innovation, investments, and cooperation, with IP serving as a foundation throughout, covering the period through August 1, 2021.

This report first sets the context by explaining the structure of the biopharma industry and the enabling role of IP for innovation within it. It then tells the story of innovation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the most important innovations. It concludes with lessons learned about IP and the COVID-19 response.

The report relates the views of IP counsel, manufacturing experts, and others in the biopharma industry who played a role in developing treatments. More than a dozen executives from a wide variety of companies were interviewed, some from companies that were responsible for vaccines and therapeutics that were approved for use, and others that contributed to their manufacturing. The publicly available information about the development of vaccines and therapeutics  was also surveyed to provide a full account.


  • Jennifer Brant, CEO Innovation Insights
  • Mark F. Schultz, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Endowed Chair in Intellectual Property Law. Director, Intellectual Property and Technology Law Program
    University of Akron School of Law