Patent toxicity: now we can measure it!

We just published a paper in Research Policy. The paper “Patent Toxicity” is co-authored by Gianluca Biggi (REMARC), Elisa Giuliani (REMARC), Arianna Martinelli (Sant’Anna) and Emilio Benfenati (Istituto di ricerche farmacologiche  Mario Negri)

The paper can be dowloaded here.


A toxic-free world is one of the goals of the European Green Deal and a key objective of the World Health Organization Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals. However, although use of some toxic chemicals is being banned, others continue to be developed. We consider this motivation for a closer examination of the toxicity of chemical inventions. We combine patent analysis with computational toxicology and develop a methodological roadmap to measure patent toxicity, that is, the extent to which a patent includes “components” (or compounds) that are toxic to humans and/or the environment. To illustrate our proposed methodology, we analyse the toxicity of ten well-known hazardous chemicals and compare it against that of other groups of chemical patents. We suggest that the measurement of patent toxicity opens up interesting avenues for future research with, potentially, strong policy implications.