By Donald Zuhn --
Last week, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced the launch of WIPO Re:Search, a consortium of public and private sector organizations sharing intellectual property (IP) and expertise with the global health research community to promote the development of new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for the treatment of neglected tropical diseases, malaria, and tuberculosis. In addition to WIPO, the collaboration involves BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH), a non-profit organization that seeks to accelerate the development of novel drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics addressing the unmet medical needs of the developing world, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), and eight pharmaceutical companies: Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, Eisai, GlaxoSmithKline, MSD1, Novartis, Pfizer, and Sanofi. Among the non-profit organizations participating in the project are the California Institute of Technology, the Center for World Health & Medicine, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Medicines for Malaria Venture, PATH, the South African Medical Research Council, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Dundee (UK).
Companies and organizations participating in the WIPO Re:Search consortium will make selected intellectual property assets available under royalty-free licenses to qualified researchers anywhere in the world for research and development on neglected tropical diseases, malaria, and tuberculosis. WIPO Director General Francis Gurry noted that "[t]his commitment should accelerate the development of medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics for these diseases," which the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates impair the lives of at least 1 billion people worldwide. WIPO RE:Search will consist of a searchable, public database of available intellectual property assets, information, and resources. Participation in the consortium will be open to all organizations that endorse, adhere to, and support the project's Guiding Principles, which include the commitment that IP licensed via WIPO Re:Search will be licensed on a royalty-free basis for research and development on neglected tropical diseases in any country and on a royalty-free basis for sale of neglected tropical disease medicines in, or to, least developed countries.
For additional information regarding this topic, please see:
• BVGH press release, October 27, 2011