IFPMA, the body representing the global research-based pharmaceutical industry, welcomes the creation of WIPO Re:Search, a new voluntary database for sharing intellectual property for R&D on medicines and vaccines for tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases. WIPO Re:Search was launched today in Geneva by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), and was followed by a roundtable with key supporters of the initiative including the World Health Organisation (WHO), the private sector, and multiple non-profit research organisations. The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) will be a WIPO Re:Search “supporter” which it sees broadening the pharmaceutical industry’s already considerable commitment in this area to deliver innovative products, push the limits of medical science and improve global health.
WIPO Re:Search will provide a searchable database which enables access to clinical trial data, knowledge and expertise, compound libraries and intellectual property assets with a view to encouraging innovation on medicines and vaccines for Tuberculosis (TB), Malaria and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) which impair the lives of more than 1 billion people in the developing world. NTDs can affect individuals for life; others lead to acute infections which are sometimes fatal. These diseases whose names are not commonly known, include, Buruli ulcer disease, dengue, cholera, trachoma and guinea worm disease, primarily affect poor people in tropical and subtropical areas. Eduardo Pisani, IFPMA Director General is confident that “WIPO Re:Search is an important pioneering step in meeting the present and future treatment needs of patients from across the developing world. It will facilitate greater research into these multiple disease indications and provide an effective platform to facilitate sustainable innovation for NTDs, malaria and TB.”
WIPO Re:Search is a an important complimentary initiative to the pharmaceutical industry’s existing efforts. IFPMA member companies are already involved in finding new treatments by conducting research and development (R&D) on their own and in partnerships, supporting capacity-building efforts in developing countries and donating millions of dollars’ worth of medicines to support elimination programs. This includes engagement in 24 capacity-building and R&D NTD-related partnerships, working to reduce the burden of these diseases on the world’s poorest populations. These efforts make the research-based pharmaceutical industry the third largest funder of R&D into NTDs in the world, after the US National Institutes of Health and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2009, the research- based pharmaceutical industry contributed 75% of the R&D funding for TB, malaria and dengue.
WIPO Re:Search meets many of IFPMA principles for industry collaboration in “neglected” disease areas. It is voluntary, encourages companies to contribute to the scheme and is flexible enough to adapt to a variety of different circumstances. IFPMA’s principles on collaborative platforms underscore the importance of overcoming problems of inadequate networks for sharing information; the need to facilitate the exchange of know-how; experience and capabilities; and enhance the efficiency of licensing procedures.
Geneva, 26 October 2011