Winning IP Strategy Blog

See our USPTO Cancer Moonshot entry in Intellar


In September 2016, we used our new Intellar™ analytics service to map the intellectual property (IP) landscape for Melanoma treatment in the US. This was for the US Patent & Trademark Office’s Cancer Moonshot Challenge on Challenge.gov. The Challenge required patent analytics integrated with insights from scientific literature and business news. While we did not win (congrats to those who did!), we have received many inquiries from those who saw the entry online. Updated excerpts are below, to better share the data and the storytelling power of Intellar competitive monitoring and IP landscaping  from Perception Partners.

USPTO Cancer Moonshot Challenge

Visualization of the Melanoma IP Landscape to improve funding and policy decision-making


The best visualizations transfer knowledge not just to individuals but to groups, building consensus. We demonstrate a recent Melanoma Landscape in Intellar,™ a friendly horizon scanning tool. Intellar builds a more complete picture for users having varied levels of expertise. It enables collaboration by linking big data visualizations from “high level pictures” to “deep dives” so users reach funding and policy decisions together.

Melanoma IP Focus

According to cancerresearch.org, melanoma is the most aggressive and deadliest form of skin cancer. In 2016 in the U.S. ~76,380 new melanomas will be diagnosed, and ~10,130 people will die. A substantial unmet need still remains for new therapies. According to the FDA Orange Book/Purple Book, 8 new melanoma drugs/therapies are approved since 2011. There are 4 immunotherapies: Ipilimumab (Yervoy®); Pembrolizumab (Keytruda®); Nivolumab (Opdivo®); Talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC, Imlygic™). The first three are checkpoint inhibitors that “take the brakes off” the immune system; the last is an oncolytic virus therapy. There are also 4 targeted therapies: Vemurafenib (Zelboraf®); Dabrafenib (Tafinlar®); Trametinib (Mekinist®); Cobimetinib (Cotellic®). These target common genetic mutations, e.g., BRAFV600 mutation.

The Melanoma IP Dataset

  • This landscape covers publishing since 2000 to demonstrate insights in the melanoma therapeutic area
  • 264 US patents and 983 applications related to melanoma, and/or breakthrough therapy terms
  • 1,346 Literature items covering actual research (journals, clinical trials, studies; not editorial/opinion) from higher-impact sources
  • 408 News items from newswires and web news
  • Custom melanoma technology taxonomy of 6 areas and 46 therapeutic categories
  • Business events taxonomy 10 areas and 91 commercial categories

Organizations Developing Melanoma IP


Roll over the executive summary block at the top of the Organizations View (or any other View) to see the full landscape summary.


In this landscape there are 640 unique organizations/publishers. Organizations are displayed in tiles (un/collapsed by arrow icons) and are filterable/sortable by attributes in the collapsing right pane. Bar charts depict publishing by Document Type by Organization by Year. It is evident for firms that most of the time, patenting (green and gold data series) precedes other publications (violet & orange). This reinforces the value of patents (and USPTO) as an early indicator in Melanoma research.


By expanding Organization tiles one can compare details between firms. Above, we see (across the innovation area pie charts; top category bottom boxes; categories in right pane and TFIDF extracted concepts) the research differences between BMS – with more US research efforts directed more to antibodies – compared to Genentech with more small molecule approaches targeted to B-RAF. User comments in context can hide/show at top of tiles (balloon icons). Voted tiles sort in right pane to make this comparison.

Active Organization Types


This collapsed Organization Types View reveals meaningful publishing trends. Looking carefully one sees the earliest publishing is in USPTO patents/applications (green/gold), demonstrating incentives to patent first in almost every Organization Type. To improve early investment, one would need to monitor Government publications (purple) or hone in on news (orange) about e.g., business events involving Life Sciences Companies. As Publisher output picks up in the Landscape, earlier studies are often not reported by highest-impact journals until approved by the FDA. This indicates a need for smarter library subscription policies to obtain lower-impact journals that may not be in “popular” collections, but which could provide more bang for the buck, if focused on Melanoma.

Melanoma IP Taxonomies


The Categories View shows a technology taxonomy emphasizing activity by Document Type. Important areas are Approved Drugs, Molecular Targets and Therapeutic Options. B-RAF, and CTLA-4 Receptors are the most popular targets in the literature. PI3K-AKT is the most patented to date for Melanoma.


Filtering on the right pane shows taxonomy co-occurrence by any number of Organizations or Categories. Here we see the “weight” of Melanoma patents and literature funded by US DHHS.


Selecting the blue dollar sign in the upper left corner reveals the Events taxonomy. Here we can see the intensity of commercial activity and indicators for opportunities & risks.

Melanoma IP Landscape


The Landscape map shows all Organizations (rows) by all technology Categories (columns) by all Document Types (cells).


Right pane filters customize the map. Publishing trends reveal organizational strategies. Most focus on Antibodies, while e.g., Amgen is focused on Oncolytic Virus. More Government investment may be necessary here. Note that FDA, DHHS, and American Assc. for Cancer Research appear to have invested primarily outside of Oncolytic therapies to date.

Record (Document)-Level Observations


Right-clicking on any Landscape intersection (or Records View in menu) will drill down into documents for key Organizations and Categories. Titles link to open source record versions; publication numbers link to deep web versions. The Excel icon in the top right pane downloads visible records and metadata.


Records may be expanded from the top nav bar and filtered by any category or attribute in the right pane.


Filtering by commenter, highlights patents with expert (or algorithmic) conversations in context.

Melanoma IP Conclusions

Intellar’s linked visualizations reveal new opportunities for Melanoma funding and policy. Government and researcher users learn how to better direct/request funding to less-active but promising technologies (e.g., Oncolytics). Policy makers can identify journals more likely to publish early research in Melanoma, optimizing subscriptions in research libraries. Finally, as patents remain the earliest indicators in Melanoma, scientists and patent examiners can set up periodic monitoring to systematically discover emergent art and debate the significance in context.

We’ve launched 2 new IP strategy websites

We have relaunched our intellectual property consulting website at perceptionpartners.com.

Our offerings are now organized into 3 groups:

  • IP & Innovation Strategy Services
  • IP & Technology Intelligence
  • IP Brokerage & Patent Monetization

Also discover our new Intellar™ branded competitive monitoring service, with real-time analysis of global technologies. Mine insights from the world’s patents, literature & news. Learn more at intellar.com!