WIPO Re:Search

Catalyzing innovative R&D for neglected tropical diseases, malaria, and tuberculosis

WIPO Re:Search is led by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in partnership with BVGH and several leading pharmaceutical companies. Consortium membership includes academic and nonprofit research institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and budding biotechnology companies committed to addressing the unmet medical needs of the developing world. Our 100+ Members represent 28 countries from six continents, including 22 African institutions. Download our Member list here.

The aim of the consortium is to accelerate the development of new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for neglected tropical diseases, malaria, and tuberculosis. BVGH creates partnerships that connect private industry’s assets and resources to qualified academic and nonprofit researchers with novel product discovery or development ideas.

WIPO Re:Search Collaboration Map

BVGH’s leadership is critical to the Consortium’s success. As the Partnership Hub Administrator, BVGH proactively examines scientists’ current neglected disease research and proposes novel collaboration opportunities with other Members. BVGH also fields requests from researchers, identifies Member organizations able to fulfill these requests, and helps forge mutually beneficial collaborations with clearly-defined roles, responsibilities, and expectations.

Read the most recent news in the WIPO Re:Search Snapshot.

WIPO Re:Search Pipeline

Featured Collaboration: Alnylam Pharmaceuticals & Aberystwyth University, Wales

Infection with cercariae of the trematode genus Schistosoma (commonly known as blood flukes) leads to the devastating illness schistosomiasis. This neglected infectious disease afflicts more than 240 million people worldwide (mostly children), often in resource-deprived tropical and sub-tropical regions where exposure to contaminated water containing cercariae is unavoidable. The main anthelmintic used to treat schistosomiasis, praziquantel, is only effective  in treating the adult worm. This limited efficacy, along with the potential of resistance development due to mass drug administration programs, highlights an urgent need for new therapies.

 Responding to this need, researchers at Aberystwyth University in Wales, led by Prof. Karl Hoffmann, are developing new approaches for controlling parasitic helminths. Prof. Hoffmann’s group has partnered with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (Alnylam) to explore the use of ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi) technology for gene silencing in S. mansoni (one of the three main trematode species that cause the disease in humans) to identify targets that are important for the survival of this medically important parasite.

Dr. Brian Bettencourt, a biometrics researcher at Alnylam, optimized a set of short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) for Prof. Hoffmann to assess in gene knockdown studies in S. mansoni. The optimized siRNAs designed by Alnylam were demonstrated to be more effective than previously tested siRNAs. Given these promising results, Alnylam supported the design of additional siRNAs against three S. mansoni genes. To optimize the knock-down, Alnylam is also providing lipophilic reagents and advice on the delivery of the siRNAs in S. mansoni. With this additional support from Alnylam, Prof. Hoffmann’s team plans to demonstrate proof-ofprinciple and establish an optimized protocol for gene silencing in schistosomes. Ultimately, the group envisages applying for funding to conduct a genome-wide screen in S. mansoni using siRNAs designed with Alnylam’s technology, with the aim of identifying gene targets for developing nextgeneration anthelmintics.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the consortium or learning more, please email Katy Graef at kgraef@bvgh.org.