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WIPO Re:Search Enlists 150th Member in the Fight Against Neglected Tropical Diseases, Malaria and TB

11-Jan-2021 | Source : AG-IP News | Visits : 840

GENEVA - World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Re:Search has welcomed a 150th member to the global network fighting neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), malaria, and tuberculosis (TB), with Colombia's venerable University of Antioquia joining the flagship WIPO public-private partnership, according to the official website of WIPO.

WIPO and the US-based BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) established WIPO Re:Search in 2011 to accelerate early-stage research and development (R&D) for NTDs, malaria and TB. This is achieved through the sharing of intellectual property (IP) among the global health research community on a royalty-free basis. The target diseases affect some 2 billion people globally, disproportionally striking the world's most vulnerable individuals.

WIPO Re:Search's members include pharmaceutical companies, academic and scientific institutions, and non-governmental organizations. With the newly admitted University of Antioquia, the consortium now includes 150 members in 44 countries on six continents. To date, the consortium has established 165 collaborations that enable organizations to share IP, including molecules, compounds, data, and expertise. 

"Through the creative sharing of IP in its global public-private network, WIPO Re:Search nourishes - and exemplifies - the power of innovation in advancing R&D to fight devastating diseases that disproportionately affect disadvantaged populations," said WIPO Assistant Director General for the Global Challenges and Partnerships Sector Edward Kwakwa, noting: “The University of Antioquia’s scientific expertise further strengthens this collective endeavor.”

“We are excited to welcome the University of Antioquia to WIPO Re:Search as our first Colombian Member,” said President and CEO of BVGH Jennifer Dent. “As BVGH works to catalyze partnerships and advance research in NTDs, malaria, and tuberculosis, it is critical that we engage researchers in all endemic countries. Colombia has established a culture and reputation of research excellence in infectious diseases.  We are confident the university will be a strong contributor and partner in our network of WIPO Re:Search organizations around the world.”

The University of Antioquia joins a geographically diverse and academically distinguished membership, anchored by eight of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies – Eisai, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, MSD, Novartis, Pfizer, and Takeda. 

Members already engaged in R&D collaborations include the United States' Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the U.K. Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, the University of Yaoundé in Cameroon, Brazil’s Laboratório Nacional de Biociências, Australia’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, and China's Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health. These collaborations are advancing science on a range of diseases including malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness) and schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzia.

The University of Antioquia (UdeA), founded in 1803, is one of the oldest universities in Colombia. Its research activities date back to approximately 1960. Today, UdeA is home to 268 research groups and 615 researchers, making it the country’s second scientific hub.

UdeA’s PECET (Programa de estudio y control de enfermedades tropicales) program conducts multidisciplinary research aimed at developing tropical disease solutions for the world’s poorest communities.

Recognized by the World Health Organization as a collaborating center for teaching, training, research and evaluation of medicines and vaccines, PECET has established international collaborations across Central America, the Mediterranean, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, with a particular focus on leishmaniasis drug development. One of the PECET’s achievements is the development of Anfoleish, a cream to treat cutaneous leishmaniasis, for which a partnership with DNDi has been established to conduct clinical trials.

“It is with great excitement that our university joins WIPO Re:Search. We are eager to engage with this dynamic group of organizations who share the common mission of lessening the burden of neglected tropical diseases on the world’s poorest communities. We are hopeful and confident that our collaborations with other consortium members will spark new discoveries and advances in the ongoing battle against these devastating conditions,” said Iván Vélez, Director, PECET.

As the newest WIPO Re:Search member, UdeA contributes strong expertise in natural product drug discovery, drug repurposing, in silico (computer-based) and in vitro screening, preclinical studies, as well as clinical trials.

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