Major Patent Pool Opens Up Research On Neglected Disease

Yojana Sharma | SciDev.Net | October 31, 2011

Research on drug development for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), tuberculosis and malaria will receive a boost from a major initiative launched by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) last week (26 October). 'Re:Search' will provide free access to research on medicines, vaccines and diagnostics, based on patents and research held by a consortium of eight major global pharmaceutical companies, the US National Institutes of Health and other organisations.

But only the 49 least developed countries will be able to get a free licence to develop products based on the initiative, a limitation which has been criticised by key organisations in the field such as the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) and the aid organisation Doctors Without Borders.

"By joining WIPO Re:Search, companies and researchers commit to making selected intellectual property assets available under royalty-free licences to qualified researchers anywhere in the world for research and development," said Francis Gurry, director-general of WIPO...