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Medicines Patent Pool marks World Aids Day with pharma progress

Begins sub-licensing Gilead Sciences' patents and is negotiating with Boehringer, BMS, Roche and ViiV

The Medicines Patent Pool has begun sub-licensing Gilead Sciences' HIV treatment patents to generic manufacturers so that they can produce cheaper versions of the company's medicines for the developing world.

It makes good on Gilead's July agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool to grant access to not just its currently marketed treatments tenofovir and emtricitabine, but also to the patents for cobicistat and elvitegravir, two drugs that are still in development.

The announcement coincides with World Aids Day and marks a major step forward in increasing access to HIV medicines in low and middle income countries.

Established last year, the Medicines Patent Pool aims to increase access to quality, safe, efficacious, more appropriate and affordable HIV medicines in low- and middle-income countries.

The Medicines Patent Pool is also in patent negotiations with five further pharmaceutical companies - Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche, Sequoia Pharmaceuticals, and GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer's joint venture ViiV Healthcare. It is also in talks with the US National Institutes of Health.

With each subsequent licensing agreement the Pool signs, its value as a 'one-stop shop' for licences increases, the Medicines Patent Pool said in statement.

“Companies that join the Pool send a strong signal of their commitment to universal access to HIV treatment,” it added.


Ellen 't Hoen, executive director of the Medicines Patent Pool, also called on three more pharma companies - Abbott, Johnson & Johnson and Merck & Co - to take up the invitation to join the Pool.

The Medicines Patent Pool is based in Switzerland and was founded using funds from UNITAID.

It makes medicine licenses available on a non-exclusive and non-discriminatory basis and aims to increase both access to medicines and competition for their production. Another key focus is to achieve sustainable price reductions, and standardise license terms and conditions across licences to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.

In addition to sublicensing patents, the Medicines Patent Pool also aims to be able to grant licenses that facilitate generic production and encourage new-formula innovations, including fixed-dose combinations.

1st December 2011

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