Emerging technologies

Knowledge Markets



In the biomedical sector, new mechanisms are emerging to facilitate the trade of a variety of intellectual assets (e.g. data, materials, expertise, services).  Such “knowledge markets”  encourage knowledge sharing and creation; they may also increase the speed and efficiency with which health-related research is translated into innovative goods and services. 

The Biotechnology Division of the OECD organised an experts workshop on “Knowledge Markets in the Life Sciences” in Washington, DC on October 16-17, 2008 ((see agenda and presentations).  and the Chairman's summary of the Workshop). Its purpose was to explore whether knowledge markets could be more broadly used and to identify what governments may need to do to help make such new markets become a reality. The workshop explored:

  • What “knowledge markets” are by discussing real world examples of exchange mechanisms;
  • What are the business, economic and policy incentives behind the creation of knowledge markets in the life sciences;
  • What sort types of health data, information, and know-how could create greater added-value if more easily exchanged or traded;
  • What impacts knowledge markets have on biomedical innovation and health outcomes; and
  • The factors that influence their development including government policies; see Issues Paper.

This workshop was the first policy meeting to consider what new exchange mechanisms improve access to and use of the vast amounts of data, knowledge and information created in the biomedical sciences.  What is new here is the attempt to understand how financial pressures in the biomedical industries are dove-tailing with public policy priorities and not-for-profit/not-for-loss business models which deliver greater access to intellectual assets. The workshop gave a clear sense that the biomedical research infrastructure is evolving toward a more discrete and collaborative structure and suggested where governments policies can influence the emergence of knowledge markets. It brought together expertise from academia and public research organisations, health and IT industries, the venture capital and institutional investor community, non-governmental organisations, as well as policymakers. They debated how knowledge markets impact innovation efficiency and how they are opening up new business opportunities and new business models in biomedicine.

A policy report was published in 2012.