NEW YORK and GENEVA, April 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
TB Alliance and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) today announced a Memorandum of Understanding outlining a multi-pronged collaboration to encourage the development of new tuberculosis (TB) regimens and ensure their availability in low-and middle-income countries. The two organisations will work together on a range of initiatives, with a focus on public health-oriented licensing strategies and the sharing of intellectual property to spur research and development of affordable new TB treatments.
TB is the world's leading infectious disease cause of death, killing someone every 20 seconds, the vast majority of deaths occurring in resource-limited settings. The emergence of multi-drug resistant (MDR-) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR-) TB, coupled with a growing number of patients co-infected with TB and HIV, has made the pandemic even more deadly. Today, treating TB is challenging given the long, demanding duration of current regimens. Improved, faster-acting, and affordable treatments are needed to stop this global killer.
"TB Alliance is pleased to partner with the Medicines Patent Pool to accelerate R&D and ensure equitable access to new therapies," said Mel Spigelman, MD, TB Alliance's President and Chief Executive Officer. "With its strong track record in negotiating voluntary licences for HIV treatments, we believe the MPP can contribute significantly toward improving the international response to combatting TB in low- and middle-income countries."
The agreement comes five months after MPP's funder, UNITAID, approved MPP's expansion into the new areas of hepatitis C and tuberculosis, and builds upon the partners' shared interest in sustainable research and development of affordable drugs to fight TB.
"The MPP is thrilled to work with TB Alliance, a leading product development partnership in TB and to benefit from its significant expertise in the area of TB drug R&D," said Greg Perry, Executive Director of the MPP. "This MOU provides an excellent opportunity to bolster both organisations' efforts, achieve significant global health benefits in the R&D and manufacturing of new anti-TB drugs and facilitate greater and better sharing of IP for that purpose."
Under the terms of the MOU, the partners will collaborate on developing licensing strategies for future TB drug regimens developed by TB Alliance and to ensure that those regimens are available, affordable and adopted in high TB burden countries. The MPP and TB Alliance will further collaborate on a comprehensive review of promising TB compounds in development for potential licensing opportunities and on improving access to correctly dosed, properly formulated TB medicines for children. Finally, the parties will share patent status, sales data, epidemiological and other information and work in consultation with other public health organisations to develop TB drug market forecasts and intelligence.
"UNITAID is strongly committed to global targets aimed at ending the TB pandemic by 2030. We have invested heavily in making available new diagnostics tools, improved childhood formulations, and programmes to improve access to simpler and less toxic treatment regimens," said Lelio Marmora, UNITAID's Executive Director. "MPP and TB Alliance play a vital role in global efforts to drastically improve the lives of millions of TB patients."
About TB Alliance (Global Alliance for TB Drug Development)
TB Alliance is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to finding faster-acting and affordable drug regimens to fight tuberculosis (TB). Through innovative science and with partners around the globe, we aim to ensure equitable access to faster, better TB cures that will advance global health and prosperity. TB Alliance operates with support from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, European Commission, Global Health Innovative Technology Fund, Irish Aid, Indonesia Health Fund, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, UNITAID, United Kingdom Department for International Development, United States Agency for International Development, and the United States Food and Drug Administration. For more information, please visit http://www.tballiance.org.
About the Medicines Patent Pool
The Medicines Patent Pool is a United Nations-backed public health organisation working to increase access to HIV, viral hepatitis C and tuberculosis treatments in low- and middle-income countries. Through its innovative business model, the MPP partners with industry, civil society, international organisations, patient groups and other stakeholders to prioritise, forecast and license needed medicines and pool intellectual property to encourage generic manufacture and the development of new formulations. To date, the MPP has signed agreements with six patent holders for twelve HIV antiretrovirals and for one hepatitis C direct-acting antiviral. Its generic partners have distributed more than three billion doses of low-cost medicines to 117 countries. The MPP was founded and remains fully funded by UNITAID. For more information, please visit http://www.medicinespatentpool.org.
SOURCE Medicines Patent Pool & TB Alliance