The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) welcomes the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) initiative to create an open innovation platform – in the form of a searchable public database – to make intellectual property (IP), including compounds and regulatory data, for neglected disease innovation available for licensing. The initiative, called Re:Search, is being launched today in Geneva.
This initiative confirms a recent growing trend of openness in the management of IP for global health. After the Medicines Patent Pool for HIV launched by UNITAID and the Pool for Open Innovation for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) launched by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), WIPO Re:Search represents an additional move towards more open mechanisms that have the potential to facilitate and foster sharing of IP and knowledge for neglected disease innovation.
DNDi joins WIPO Re:Search as a Provider and likely User. It has committed to providing raw data to WIPO Re:Search, including information on development of drugs for leishmaniasis and human African trypanosomiasis, both of which are fatal parasitic diseases.
This mechanism has the potential to avoid duplication in research and to reduce costs and development timelines for the benefit of patients. However, while DNDi welcomes the initiative, it points to two elements considered essential to ensure innovation and access in neglected-disease endemic countries:
‘Firstly, WIPO and other important players engaged in global health should take a step further in terms of access, especially by including not only the least developed countries but all neglected disease-endemic countries’, said Dr Bernard Pécoul, Executive Director of DNDi. ‘Secondly, we need to aim for more transparency in licensing practices that have a public health goal. We have to go beyond the minimum,’ he added.
Since its inception, DNDi has advocated for open innovation. In practice, it brokers very ambitious and clear agreements to ensure equitable access in neglected disease-endemic countries with several pharmaceutical partners. DNDi will continue to negotiate for the best conditions for neglected patients and to promote more open innovation for neglected diseases.
Part of DNDi’s mission is to encourage and support follow-on research for neglected diseases by the research community. It will use WIPO Re:Search, in addition to other public databases, to share, as much as possible, research data generated in partnership with public and private partners.
About Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi)
DNDi is a not-for-profit research and development organization working to deliver new treatments for neglected diseases, in particular human African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, malaria, and, with the recent expansion of its portfolio, specific helminth infections and pediatric HIV. DNDi was established in 2003 by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation from Brazil, the Indian Council for Medical Research, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, the Ministry of Health of Malaysia, and the Pasteur Institute of France. The UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/World Health Organization’s Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) serves as a permanent observer.
Gabrielle Landry Chappuis
Head of Communication and Advocacy, DNDi
Tel.: +41 79 309 3910