Leading Pharmaceutical Companies & Research Institutions Offer IP and Expertise for use in Treating Neglected Tropical Diseases as Part of WIPO Re:Search

Geneva, October 26, 2011

WIPO Re:Search, A New Consortium of Public and Private Sector Organizations, Drives Research and Development Partnerships with Neglected Tropical Disease Researchers

This communiqué is released jointly with

Press Conference Video, Press Conference, Launch of WIPO Re:Search Video   |   Interviews Video, Roundtable on Neglected Tropical Diseases, Interviews, October 2011 Video

GENEVA, October 26, 2011 – The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in an unprecedented collaboration with leading pharmaceutical companies and BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH), launched today WIPO Re:Search, a new consortium where public and private sector organizations share valuable intellectual property (IP) and expertise with the global health research community to promote development of new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics to treat neglected tropical diseases, malaria, and tuberculosis.

(Photo: E. Berrod)

In WIPO Re:Search, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, Eisai, GlaxoSmithKline, MSD1, Novartis, Pfizer, and Sanofi are collaborating with WIPO, BVGH, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), and multiple non-profit research organizations. These include the California Institute of Technology, the Center for World Health & Medicine, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Medicines for Malaria Venture, PATH, the South African Medical Research Council, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Dundee (UK).

“WIPO Re:Search is a ground breaking example of how a multi-stakeholder coalition can put IP to work for social benefit,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. “By joining WIPO Re:Search, companies and researchers commit to making selected intellectual property assets available under royalty-free licenses to qualified researchers anywhere in the world for research and development on neglected tropical diseases, malaria, and tuberculosis. This commitment should accelerate the development of medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics for these diseases.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), neglected tropical diseases today impair the lives of an estimated 1 billion people. The WHO provides technical advice to WIPO on public health issues and research priorities, as appropriate.

By providing a searchable, public database of available intellectual property assets, information, and resources, WIPO Re:Search facilitates new partnerships with organizations that conduct research on treatments for neglected tropical diseases, malaria, and tuberculosis.

Membership in WIPO Re:Search as a user, provider, or supporter is open to all organizations that endorse, adhere to, and support the project’s Guiding Principles. These Guiding Principles include the commitment that IP licensed via WIPO Re:Search will be licensed on a royalty-free basis for research and development on neglected tropical diseases in any country and on a royalty-free basis for sale of neglected tropical disease medicines in, or to, least developed countries.

“The innovative pharmaceutical industry has an important part to play in addressing unmet medical needs, and increasing access to our collective proprietary information will help advance research into treatment options for these underserved diseases,” said David Brennan, CEO of AstraZeneca and President of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA). “WIPO Re:Search has the potential to make a real impact on global health, which is why we are proud to make all patents owned by AstraZeneca available to this important initiative for promoting the research and development of treatments for neglected tropical diseases anywhere in the world.”

The WIPO Re:Search database includes a wide variety of contributions relevant to malaria, tuberculosis, and other neglected tropical diseases, including individual compounds and associated data, screening hits from compound libraries, and expertise and know-how in pharmaceutical research and development. In addition, WIPO Re:Search offers the opportunity for neglected tropical disease researchers to work directly with scientists at pharmaceutical companies to advance R&D on these diseases. As WIPO Re:Search moves forward, offerings from current partners will continue to grow and new providers are expected to join to add to the wealth of information, compounds, and services available.

“NIH licenses its patents to enable the private sector to develop diagnostics, therapeutics, and devices that improve public health,” said National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD. “We want to ensure that our biological materials and patents covering treatments or vaccines for neglected tropical diseases, as with all diseases, are available as broadly as possible to speed the development of new products for people who are most burdened by these diseases, and WIPO Re:Search helps us to do this.”

The founding eight pharmaceutical companies, WIPO, BVGH, and NIH are joined by a distinguished group of globally recognized institutions as providers, potential users, and supporters of WIPO Re:Search (see annex). BVGH will manage the WIPO Re:Search Partnership Hub, which will facilitate relationships between the pharmaceutical company providers and new users.

“In our role as administrator of the WIPO Re:Search Partnership Hub, BIO Ventures for Global Health is excited to bring these new opportunities to neglected disease researchers around the world to accelerate their work in this area of critical unmet need,” said Don Joseph, Chief Operating Officer of BVGH. “As both present and future providers evaluate their internal data and IP with the goal to provide focused information which they believe will best serve the neglected tropical disease research and development community, WIPO Re:Search will build on previous R&D investments to speed the development of drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for the neglected diseases that disproportionately impact people living in resource-poor countries.”

About WIPO

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a specialized agency of the UN dedicated to developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system which rewards creativity, stimulates innovation and contributes to economic development while safeguarding the public interest. It has a mandate from its 184 member states to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world through cooperation among states and in collaboration with other stakeholders.

WIPO’s activities fall broadly into three areas, namely, the progressive development of international IP law, IP capacity-building programs to support the efficient use of IP, particularly in developing countries, and services to industry which facilitate the process of obtaining IP rights in multiple countries and alternative dispute resolution options for private parties.

About BIO Ventures for Global Health

BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to save lives by accelerating the development of novel drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics coming from the biotechnology industry that address the unmet medical needs of the developing world. The organization works at the crossroads of biotechnology and global health to find the common ground between the goals of the global health community and the pragmatic needs of companies.

Since its formation in 2004, BVGH has become a leader in advancing global health initiatives. Among its many other activities, BVGH is the current administrator of the Pool for Open Innovation against Neglected Tropical Diseases, and as such has significant experience in addressing the needs of both provider and user entities in the sharing of intellectual property for neglected disease research. For more information, please visit www.bvgh.org.


Media Relations Section
+41 -22 -338- 81 61

BIO Ventures for Global Health
Molly Polen
Director of Communications
BIO Ventures for Global Health
+1 202-470-6232
+1 202-340-3593

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Cynthia Clayton
+ 1 617-551-8207

Abigail Baron
+44 (0)207 604 8034

Ian McConnell

Lauren Starr
+ 1 212.733.3221
+ 1 646.761.0965

Cressida Toro


About Neglected Tropical Diseases

According to WHO, neglected tropical diseases blight the lives of more than 1 billion of the world’s poorest 2.7 billion people. There are 149 countries and territories where neglected tropical diseases are endemic, at least 100 of which are endemic for 2 or more of these diseases, and 30 countries that are endemic for 6 or more. These diseases not only survive and spread in conditions of poverty, they also anchor large populations in poverty. Neglected tropical diseases can cause blindness and deform in ways that hinder economic productivity and cancel out chances for a normal social life. They can maim, debilitate, and kill. The consequences are costly for societies and for health care. Such diseases linked to poverty have traditionally offered little incentive to industry to invest in developing new or better products for a market that cannot pay. In 2010, WHO set out a clear strategy for scaled up intervention which has as its goal the elimination of several of these diseases by 2020. WIPO Re:Search supports this goal.

About WIPO Re:Search

WIPO Re:Search was established in October 2011 with the mission of accelerating the discovery and development of medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics to develop new solutions for people affected by neglected tropical diseases, malaria, and tuberculosis by making intellectual property and know-how available to the global health research community. The diseases targeted by WIPO Re:Search are those listed by WHO as neglected, and also include tuberculosis and malaria. That list is comprised of: buruli ulcer, Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis), cysticercosis, dengue/dengue hemorrhagic fever, dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease), echinococcosis, endemic treponematoses (yaws), foodborne trematode infections (clonorchiasis, opistorchiasis, fascioliasis, and paragonimiasis), human African trypanosomiasis (African sleeping sickness), leishmaniasis, leprosy, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis, rabies, schistosomiasis, soil transmitted helminths, trachoma, tuberculosis, podoconiosis, and snakebite. To learn more about WIPO Re:Search, visit its website: www.wipoReSearch.org.

The WIPO Re:Search Partnership Hub, managed by BVGH, is a virtual platform for potential users of WIPO Re:Search and others that are considering joining as a provider or supporter to learn about WIPO Re:Search, available licensing and research collaboration opportunities, networking possibilities, and funding options. The WIPO Re:Search Partnership Hub will facilitate relationships between the pharmaceutical company providers and new users.

Annex 2


  • Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
  • AstraZeneca
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Center for World Health & Medicine
  • Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative
  • Eisai
  • Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz)
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Medicines for Malaria Venture
  • MSD (MSD is a trade name of Merck & Co., Inc., with headquarters in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, USA)
  • Novartis
  • PATH
  • Pfizer
  • Sanofi
  • South African Medical Research Council
  • Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of Dundee
  • U.S. National Institutes of Health

Potential Users

  • Center for World Health & Medicine
  • Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative
  • Emory University
  • Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz)
  • iThemba Pharmaceuticals
  • Medicines for Malaria Venture
  • Sabin Vaccine Institute
  • South African Medical Research Council
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • University of Dundee


  • Association of University Technology Managers
  • Indian Council for Medical Research
  • International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA)
  • Kenya Medical Research Institute
  • Licensing Executive Society International
  • Mahidol University
  • South African Medical Research Council
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

1  MSD is a trade name of Merck & Co., Inc., with headquarters in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, USA

For more information, please contact the News and Media Division at WIPO:
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