BVGH Completes 30th WIPO Re:Search Agreement to Speed New Solutions for Neglected Diseases in Developing World

 Drug companies assist researchers in addressing infectious diseases world-wide

SEATTLE September 17, 2013—BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) today announced the completion of the 30th research agreement as part of its partnership with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to accelerate development of drugs, diagnostics and vaccines for more than 1.5 billion people suffering from malaria, tuberculosis,  and other neglected tropical diseases including dengue in developing nations.  A recent publication in the journal of Nature reports scientists have seriously underestimated the global incidence of dengue. There have been outbreaks of dengue even in developed nations including Portugal, Russia and smaller ones in the United States. The study predicts there could be as many as 400 million cases of dengue each year.

“While advances in science, medicine and technology have enabled high-income countries to dramatically reduce the burden of infectious diseases, developing countries still struggle with high rates of preventable deaths from these diseases which have a devastating impact on more than one billion people living in poverty and their economies,” said Jennifer Dent, President, BVGH.  “WIPO Re:Search partnerships are advancing the development of new products to address these old and debilitating diseases. Working with our members and partners BVGH plans to broaden these agreements and establish new programs to address the needs of infectious disease researchers worldwide,” Dent added.

In the latest agreement facilitated by BVGH, pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) agreed to provide researchers at the National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi, India with published kinase inhibitors so they can study molecular signaling pathways in the malaria parasite. These pathways can be used to kill the parasite and potentially lead to the development of new drugs to fight malaria.

Recently, another global drug developer Sanofi and the Center for World Health and Medicine (CWHM) entered an agreement around compounds originally tested for treatment of hypertension. The compounds have been shared by Sanofi and will be examined by CWHM for potential therapeutic use in diarrheal diseases, the second leading cause of death and the leading cause of malnutrition in children under five.

BVGH was formed by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and works with the WIPO, a United Nations agency. BVGH identifies partnership opportunities and facilitates the sharing of vital assets and information between private industry companies and researchers in the US and overseas to develop new therapies for unmet medical needs. BVGH, WIPO and several leading pharmaceutical companies formed a global consortium to establish partnerships to facilitate sharing of intellectual property (IP) assets, know-how, technologies and expertise to advance development of new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics.  Founding pharmaceutical members include, Alnylam, AstraZeneca, Eisai, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer and Sanofi.  Since the consortium’s launch in October 2011, membership has more than doubled to over 70 members today committed to increase collaboration and sharing to address neglected diseases around the world.

BIO President Jim Greenwood praised the BVGH agreements as “concrete examples of moving beyond recognition of the health and economic impacts of neglected diseases and actually putting technology to work in a unique way to tackle these problems.” 

“BVGH has played a hands-on, pivotal role in identifying synergies and connecting partners. Through these partnerships researchers working on the  most devastating diseases afflicting the poor can and have benefitted from the drug development work already accomplished by the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies,” said Professor Wesley Van Voorhis, Head Allergy and Infectious Diseases Division, University of Washington (UW). The agreements are aimed at a variety of diseases including malaria, one of the most devastating pestilences as a major target. UW researchers are, with assistance from GSK, aiming to identify and develop new anti-malarials against the most virulent strain of the malaria parasite.  GSK has shared molecules as well as knowledge and expertise to assist the University in advancing its malaria studies.

Other WIPO Re:Search  agreements include,  AstraZeneca sharing drug compounds, originally in development to treat osteoporosis (bone loss), with scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to test against malaria.  Promising candidates were identified by UCSF.  The organizations are collaborating to determine next steps in evaluating these compounds.

The University of Dundee, Scotland gained access to compounds to test against the malaria parasite from Eisai, a leading Japanese pharmaceutical company.  The compounds had previously been in development by Eisai for acute phase stroke and for cancer and may now hold potential as new treatments for malaria.

Merck, the company that developed some of the first statins to treat cardiovascular disease is collaborating with researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to evaluate the use of statins to treat schistosomiasis.  Schistosomiasis is considered to be the second most devastating parasite, next to malaria, when it comes to socioeconomic impact.

Pfizer is in the early stages of discussion with 60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals, based in Washington DC, and has shared information that will support 60 Degrees’ efforts to develop a drug for Dengue fever.

 

About BIO Ventures for Global Health

BIO Ventures for Global Health is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to accelerate the development of new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics to address the unmet medical needs of the developing world. The organization catalyzes biotech and pharmaceutical industry involvement in global health product development by facilitating partnerships, designing and executing innovate programs and compelling market-based incentives, and synthesizing and disseminating critical information and quantitative analysis. For more information, please visit www.bvgh.org.

About WIPO

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the leading global forum for the promotion of intellectual property as a force for innovation and creativity to achieve positive change. A specialized agency of the United Nations, WIPO assists its 186 member states in developing a balanced international IP legal framework to meet society’s evolving needs. It provides business services for obtaining IP rights in multiple countries and resolving disputes. It delivers capacity-building programs to help developing countries benefit from using IP. And it provides free access to unique knowledge banks of IP information. 

 

Contact:  Jennifer Dent, President BVGH 

jdent@bvgh.org

(206) 732-2131