Medicines Patent Pool, US National Institutes of Health and Gilead Sciences Honoured for Public Health-Oriented Licence Agreements

TORONTO, 17 October 2012: The Medicines Patent Pool, the US National Institutes of Health/University of Illinois at Chicago and Gilead Sciences have been honoured by the Licensing Executives Society (United States and Canada) (LES) for licence agreements that expand access to affordable HIV medicines in developing countries.

“The Pool appreciates the recognition from LES and hopes it inspires other companies to follow Gilead and the NIH’s lead and to put their HIV patents in the Pool. Together the Pool and HIV-medicines patent holders can work to speed the availability of more appropriate HIV medicines, at more affordable prices, to treat more people,” said Chan Park, Interim Executive Director of the Medicines Patent Pool.

LES’s annual “Deals of Distinction” Awards are presented to notable intellectual property agreements in five industry sectors. The Patent Pool, an organisation devoted to increasing access to affordable HIV medicines through creative use of voluntary licensing, was recognised along with its two first licence partners – the US National Institutes of Health/University of Illinois at Chicago and Gilead Sciences – for precedence-setting licensing agreements dedicated to improving public health. The Pool was recognised under the Industry-University-Government Interface (IUGI) category.

“The IUGI Sector is pleased to recognise this model partnership between the NIH, UIC, Gilead Sciences and the Medicines Pool. This is truly an innovative endeavour in facilitating access to HIV treatment in developing countries. It showcases the success of public-private partnerships to improve availability of medicine,” said IUGI Sector Chair Ida Shum, in an LES press release.

The Medicines Patent Pool was founded with the support of UNITAID, a global health initiative that seeks to increase the availability of treatments for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria through sustainable financing and creative market interventions. The Pool works by making it easier for potential generic manufacturers to enter the market. Patent holders “pool” their patents, which are then licensed out to generic manufacturers to make low-cost medicines for sale in developing countries. So far, two patent holders (Gilead and the NIH) have placed their HIV-medicines patents in the Pool, and five generic manufacturers have signed up to produce the medicines licensed to the Pool. Four other key HIV medicines patent holders – Bristol-Myers Squibb, Boehringer-Ingelheim, F. Hoffman La Roche, and ViiV Healthcare [a joint venture of GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer] are in negotiations to license to the Pool.

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About the Medicines Patent Pool
The Medicines Patent Pool, founded by UNITAID in 2010, aims to stimulate innovation and improve access to HIV medicines through the negotiation of voluntary licences on medicines patents that enable robust generic competition and facilitate the development of new formulations. The Medicines Patent Pool has been endorsed by the G8 and the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS as a promising innovative approach to improve access to HIV medicines.

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