Secretary Sebelius speaks at biotech meeting

Secretary Sebelius delivered a speech in California yesterday which recognized the potential of biotechnology to address unmet needs in human health, agriculture and industrial and environmental applications.  In her remarks, Secretary Sebelius stated:

“[I]nvesting in each step of the process that starts with basic scientific discovery and ends with the development and provision of better diagnostics, treatments, and preventive strategies to significantly improve health care.  I know I don’t have to tell you that because these steps are often very complex, promising scientific discoveries can move incredibly slowly toward practical application, encountering significant hurdles along the way.”

The Secretary also recognized the challenges faced by emerging companies in raising the funds necessary for research and development and the approval process: 

“While many companies may have powerful new ideas, the fact is that when those companies are young and small, they may not have access to the capital they need to get those ideas off the ground.” 

The Secretary’s stated objective to “accelerate the process of scientific discovery, and improve the health of the American people” requires a strong and predictable intellectual property system together with an efficient and flexible technology transfer system.  It is equally important to foster partnerships and collaborations between the private and the public sector to translate basic research into new medical therapies and other products. 

Without strong intellectual property protection and an efficient technology transfer system, biotech companies may have trouble attracting investment into cutting-edge products and technologies.”

Below is a transcript of the Secretary’s speech.

The Biotech Meeting

Laguna Beach, CA
October 12, 2010

Thank you Brook for that very kind introduction.

I want to thank both Brook and Steven Burrill for convening this important discussion today and for all the work you have done to advance the life sciences.

Thank you as well to my colleague and friend Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, a true champion of science and technology in the House of Representatives.

I am delighted to be here. As you know, I came to the Department of Health and Human Services as a governor where I saw firsthand the potential of biotechnology – not just to create jobs and drive growth, but also to solve some of our biggest problems: to improve health and eradicate disease, to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and keep our water clean.

When we look back over the last century, we see that biotechnology is responsible for some of our greatest progress in public health, from the discovery of penicillin to the development of effective therapies for HIV infection.

Diseases that had once been a death sentence have been eradicated or cured.  Conditions that had once been disabling are now manageable.

Today, at the beginning of a new century, we can see even bigger opportunities ahead.

And our mission at HHS is to make good on those opportunities, accelerate the process of scientific discovery, and improve the health of the American people.

That means investing in each step of the process that starts with basic scientific discovery and ends with the development and provision of better diagnostics, treatments, and preventive strategies to significantly improve health care. 

I know I don’t have to tell you that  because these steps are often very complex, promising scientific discoveries can move incredibly slowly toward practical application, encountering significant hurdles along the way. 

But with so much to gain, we can’t afford to let any good idea go to waste. We must be able to realize tomorrow’s opportunities. And that means being able to count on a robust and streamlined process to translate and carry promising ideas forward, from the microscope to the medicine chest, from initial investment to the global market.

As you may know, this very challenge was recently highlighted in an HHS report examining our nation’s medical countermeasure enterprise.

With the President’s support, we conducted a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive analysis, and its conclusions ultimately confirmed what some of you have been saying for some time: that the pipeline we rely on to provide those critical countermeasures – diagnostics, vaccines, antivirals, antibiotics – is full of leaks, choke points, and dead ends.

In an age of new threats and persistent challenges, where delays cost lives, we simply aren’t developing and manufacturing new medical countermeasures fast enough. 

So, when the review was completed this August, HHS announced it would direct nearly $2 billion in preparedness funds to help us build a medical countermeasures enterprise that is modern, flexible, and equipped to respond quickly and effectively to any threats that arise.

What I want to share with you today is that:

One, we’re already moving forward on this plan.

And two, you need to be a part of it. We intend to call on your expertise and experience to make sure we get it right.

It was in this spirit last month that the Department’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) announced a solicitation for one or more new Centers of Innovation for Advanced Development and Manufacturing.

Despite tireless efforts on every front during the H1N1 influenza pandemic, we needed greater capacity and more flexibility to produce enough vaccine in a timely manner.

These new centers would serve as key platforms where flexible manufacturing can take place. They may be brand-new facilities, or existing facilities that are significantly refurbished. And they will have the potential to offer a dependable and robust domestic source of vaccines and other countermeasures for pandemic influenza, unknown pathogen outbreaks, and other evolving public health priorities.

But more than that, these Centers — established as public-private partnerships — will also serve as a resource so that small biotech companies with big ideas can get the regulatory, technical, and manufacturing know-how they need to demonstrate their product’s potential and bring it to market.

And they will provide manufacturing resources so those same small companies can produce these products without the heavy burden of capital investment into their own facilities.

Going forward, we are very interested in feedback and guidance from the community we hope these Centers will serve. Comments are due no later than October 29th, and will be used to develop a formal request for proposals that will potentially be awarded by the end of 2011. So please contribute your thoughts, so that we can make these facilities as responsive and effective as possible.

At the same time and in similar spirit, we are also initiating what we call the Concept Acceleration Program at the NIH, to ensure that discoveries with great potential do not die on the vine.

The program will create so-called “Sherpa” teams to guide these concepts through early stage development with partner agencies, academic researchers, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

NIH is essentially scouting the emerging science that comes from its investments then leveraging its resources to take them further still.

Now, our comprehensive review identified another key challenge as well:

While many companies may have powerful new ideas, the fact is that when those companies are young and small, they may not have access to the capital they need to get those ideas off the ground.

Right now, there’s little financial incentive for private companies to explore rare conditions like the Ebola virus infection or exposure to non-medical radiation.

Yet in the event of an Ebola outbreak or a nuclear explosion, countermeasures for these conditions would be critical.

That’s why we’re exploring a strategic investment fund.

It may be a new entity entirely or a new initiative within an established government-sponsored fund.

But I can tell you it will be an independent, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to find and nurture those organizations that have the greatest chance of making good on the public’s early investment.

And we’re not just talking about money. A good venture capital organization does not just infuse capital into key projects; it brings in executive business expertise — the vision and the guidance to take something small with big potential and find the best path to reach the next level.

At the same time, we will continue, as always, to provide direct support for the advanced development of products that are important to the public health but often unattractive to investors in private industry.  Let me give you some examples:

In 2005, the National Institutes of Health established the Centers for Countermeasures Against Radiation, where investigators developed innovative methods and tools to measure radiation exposure and evaluate potential drugs to treat radiation injury.

The program funded 130 pilot studies, and attracted many new scientists to the field, bringing with them new ideas and new perspectives.

So this summer, we announced an additional five years of funding to extend the program — $105 million in support of further research at seven institutions nationwide, building on the advances of the last five years.

On August 31, BARDA awarded a contract of up to $64.5 million for the continued development of a promising new antibiotic that may be used to fight drug-resistant organisms, including serious biothreat agents like the one that causes bubonic plague.

And late last week, we announced three new contracts that could reach $68 million focusing on a dengue vaccine delivered by a needle-free device, an anthrax vaccine delivered orally, and an anthrax vaccine delivered in conjunction with a compound that stimulates the immune system.

Clinical trials of all three vaccine products should begin within three years.

All of these investments, like many of the new initiatives highlighted in our medical countermeasure review, are about addressing risk. 

By supporting facilities and resources at the new Centers of innovation, we’re addressing the technical risk that comes with taking on uncertain, but important public health projects.

By exploring a strategic investment fund, we are addressing the risk in terms of business development.

But there’s another kind of risk, and that’s regulatory risk.

So we’re addressing that too, by improving regulatory science at the FDA.

Last week, our terrific FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg unveiled the agency’s new Regulatory Science Initiative, laying out a strategic framework to modernize how we evaluate and regulate product development.

For too long, we’ve underinvested in the tools, models, methods and knowledge needed for making these assessments.

Because of this underinvestment, we’re often testing and producing cutting-edge products using science that’s decades-old.

We’re going to give our world-class FDA scientists the resources they need to create clear regulatory pathways, analyze promising new discoveries faster, and help identify and solve scientific problems as they occur. And we’re going to build capacity throughout the development process to support intensive and early interaction between FDA and sponsors as well as government partners.

In the end, if a product fails to make it into our national stockpiles, it should only be based on its failure to meet our stringent standards for safety, efficacy or quality, and not because we failed to provide the needed business, regulatory and technical support for success. 

To achieve that goal we will have to work together.

Last year, less than an hour after being sworn in as Secretary, I was in the Situation Room being briefed on the H1N1 flu by John Brennan, the President’s Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.

I was so new I didn’t even know where the Situation Room was. Someone had to show me how to get there.

During last year’s flu season, we turned to medical countermeasures, of course. But they were just one part of a much larger response.

That response depended on the strength of our health care workforce. 

It depended on our ability to collaborate across the government and to execute a national strategy on the local level. And it depended on successful public-private communication and collaboration, as well as an informed and engaged public. 

With so many factors in play at once, coordination was key.

It was a good reminder that to be ready for the next public health crisis, we need to focus on our entire end-to-end response, from how we assess and identify threats to how we distribute and administer products to counter those threats across the country.

This was one of the goals we had in mind when we passed the Affordable Care Act six months ago.  And although it is not often referred to this way, it is one of the strongest public health bills our nation has ever seen. 

The Treasury Department has already received over 5,000 applications and will soon announce recipients of the $1 billion therapeutic discovery grant and tax credit program as part of the new law, helping small businesses that are developing new and cost-saving therapies for patients suffering from serious diseases.

Investments like these create jobs and help us stay competitive as a nation.

So, too, will the new $15 billion Prevention and Public Health Fund that recently distributed nearly $43 million in grants to state, local, and tribal governments to improve their public health services.

And at the heart of so much of our prevention efforts is an understanding that vaccination is absolutely critical.

That’s why under the new consumer protections that took effect last month, Medicare and new private health plans will offer flu vaccine and other critical vaccine coverage – without co-pays or deductibles.

The elimination of cost as a barrier comes at a key moment: This is the first year in which health officials are recommending that every American older than six months get a flu shot. And there should be ample supply; over 100 million doses have already been distributed. 

I want to thank you again for having me here today — and for your partnership. Together we’re going beyond scientific discovery, and bringing its possibilities to more people and more communities.

That is our shared responsibility — to make the very most of biotechnology’s great promise: to make it work for people’s families and communities, to strengthen our economy, and to improve our quality of life.

Francis Crick said that “Big questions get big answers.” 

By pushing science in powerful new directions, we can continue to answer some of today’s biggest, toughest questions with confidence and real hope for a brighter tomorrow.

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BIO Announces New Policy on Options for Increasing Access to Medicines in the Developing World

BIO Announces New Policy on Options for  Increasing Access to Medicines in the Developing World

Washington, D.C. (May 3, 2010) – Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) President and CEO released the following statement on a set of options to increase access to medicines in the developing world which was announced at the Partnering for Global Health Forum 2010 today.

“While many of BIO’s members are taking individual steps to address the global health crisis, we recognize as an industry that more can and should be done.   We believe that the goals of increasing access to medicines, respecting intellectual property rights, and maintaining commercial viability are mutually supportive. 

“BIO’s Policy Statement on Options for Increasing Access to Medicines in the Developing World is the first time that we as an industry have come together to identify viable options that we believe individual companies should consider as they develop and market their products worldwide.

“We strongly encourage all BIO members and other biopharmaceutical companies to review the options outlined in this Policy Statement and consider how they as individual companies can contribute to this effort.

“Working together, we can meet the global health challenge and help save and improve the quality of life for millions of patients around the world.”

The Policy Statement is available at http://www.bio.org/healthcare/innovation/Access_to_Medicines_Policy_Statement_Final.pdf.

World Intellectual Property Day 2010: Countries Talk Policy

On World Intellectual Property Day this year, the World Intellectual Property Organization’s 2010 theme is “Innovation – Linking the World“:

Most people are aware of intellectual property (IP) – of copyright, patents, industrial designs and trademarks.  But many still view these as business or legal concepts with little relevance to their own lives.  To address this gap, WIPO’s Member States decided in 2000 to designate an annual World Intellectual Property Day.  They chose April 26, the date on which the Convention establishing WIPO originally entered into force in 1970.

Each year, WIPO and its Member States celebrate World Intellectual Property Day with activities, events and campaigns.  These seek to increase public understanding of what IP really means, and to demonstrate how the IP system fosters not only music, arts and entertainments, but also all the products and technological innovations that help to shape our world.

WIPO issues a message from the Director General each year, broadcasts a short publicity spot on international television channels, and dispatches posters and other promotional materials to IP offices and organizations.  Reports of activities organized by Member States are published on this site.

The aims of World IP Day are:

  • to raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life;
  • to increase understanding of how protecting IP rights helps promote creativity and innovation;
  • to celebrate creativity, and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the globe

What did the Victoria Espinel,  U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, say on the White House Blog?

During the past month, I have also met with dozens of companies throughout the country to whom intellectual property is very important.  I have heard concerns from the semi-conductor industry, tractor manufacturers, all facets of the music industry —from the recording studios to publishers, composers, and performers — the apparel industry, cement manufacturers, product safety certifiers, pharmaceutical companies, aerospace industry, labor unions, movie industry, cell phone manufacturers, software companies,  car part suppliers, internet auction sites,  biotech companies and many more. The number of industry sectors hurt by rampant counterfeiting and piracy is unacceptable. As a result of these meetings, I came away with a greater appreciation of the myriad of concerns out there.  And I intend to continue to meet with groups that have a stake in all that we are doing here in Washington as we move forward with developing and implementing the White House enforcement strategy.

What did Secretary of State Clinton say?

April 26 marks the tenth annual World Intellectual Property Day. The United States has celebrated and protected innovation and creativity since George Washington signed the first American patent in 1790. The ideas and inspirations of our citizens fuel our economy, enrich our culture and help us meet global challenges from climate change to poverty, hunger and disease.

Today, because of advances in technology and falling trade barriers, information and ideas circle the globe faster and more freely than ever. But these same trends have also increased intellectual piracy, from illegal file downloads to bootleg recordings to counterfeit products. Theft of intellectual property is a crime that erodes the incentive to create and poses a serious barrier to making legitimate products and services available to the public.

The Obama Administration is committed to fostering innovation at home and protecting intellectual property rights around the world. The President has named an Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator and at the State Department we have made intellectual property a diplomatic priority. We are working with our trading partners, businesses, and international organizations to protect intellectual property interests while opening markets for new technologies and products.

On the tenth anniversary of World Intellectual Property Day, we salute the scientists, inventors, writers, composers and other creative individuals who contribute so much to our common humanity. Let us work together to protect their innovation, and that of future generations.

  • to encourage respect for the IP rights of others.
  • In addition to the State agenda, the U.S. Department of Justice announced today:

    As part of the Department of Justice’s ongoing initiative to confront intellectual property (IP) crimes, Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler announced today the appointment of 15 new Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) positions and 20 FBI Special Agents to be dedicated to combating domestic and international IP crimes.

    Simultaneously with U.S. activities, today “Developing Countries Form Intellectual Property Group” (AP):

    The new group aims to transform the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) from a body servicing mainly holders of intellectual property rights to a U.N. agency helping members achieve development goals through “a balanced and calibrated use of intellectual property”, a statement said.

    The creation of the new group marks another step in the confrontation between rich and developing countries over intellectual property rights.

    Below are links to other World IP Day news, by Country:

    • New Zealand (“Calls to reinstate tax incentives”)
    • Cameroon (“Intellectual Property – Development Catalyst”)
    • Iran (“World Intellectual Property Day marked”)
    • Tunisia (“Tunisia observes World Intellectual Property Day”)
    • Grenada (“World Intellectual Property Rights Day”)

    Note: Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce published a report defending strong Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) (The Hill article: “Strict IP enforcement would boost economy“). CongressDaily’s Tech Daily Dose notes that tomorrow, Tuesday April 27, ” the Computer and Communications Industry Association plans to release its own study Tuesday that the group says will show that fair use of IP also produces economic benefits. The study found that ‘industries relying on fair use and other exceptions to copyright make up one-sixth of the U.S. economy and employ one of every eight workers,’ according to a CCIA statement Monday” (Link to CongressDaily article: “Dueling Studies On World IP Day”).

    FluGen: Tech Transfer in the Madison, Wisconsin Region

    credit: UW Communications

    Kawaoka. credit: UW Communications

    I first became acquainted with the work of Dr. Yoshihiro (Yoshi) Kawaoka at a 2006 CEO Summit held at the University Wisconsin-Madison hosted by UW Alumni John Morgridge. This unique forum was designed for leading Madison Region executives who shared a common experience—being UW Madison alumni. UW Madison, which ties with Harvard for CEO production, was hosting this event to profile recent cutting-edge research (showcased that day by Dr. Kawaoka, Dr. James Thomson, of human embryonic stem cell fame, and Paul Barford, internet security researcher). Dr. Kawaoka impressed me as of course brilliant, cutting edge, and well-spoken enough to both frighten and reassure me about the nature of his research.

    Dr. Kawaoka had, at the time, been researching influenza for at least 10 years as a member of the UW Madison School of Veterinary Medicine; soon after this summit, he was to take advantage of the infrastructure of the UW Madison and Madison Region to launch FluGen, an influenza product R&D business.  FluGen is a strong case study in not only top leading research happening at the UW Madison, but also of how the infrastructure of the region helps this R&D spinout into productive, leading global businesses that help heal, feed and fuel the world.

    With Gabriele Neumann (UW Madison) and Paul Radspinner (former exec with Deltanoid Pharmaceuticals –Madison and Eli Lilly who assumed position as president and CEO of FluGen), Dr. Kawaoka and his team received exclusive influenza vaccine licensing rights from WARF in 2008 shortly following FluGen’s launch.  Working with the UW Madison’s Office of Corporate Relations, FluGen began travelling the Angel and Venture Capital circuit for funding. To-date, FluGen has received $2.2 million in angel funding and is currently raising an additional $3 million in bridge round funding.

    “The combination of great UW science, extraordinary facilites at the University Research Park and the Waisman Biomanufacturing Center, expert assistance and support from OCR and WARF, and venture cpaital will help us to keep scientists like Dr. Kawaoka and their businesses here in Wisconsin,” said Radspinner in a 2008 interview.

    In 2008, FluGen was awarded a nationally-innovative tax credit dubbed Act 255, Angel and Venture Fund Tax Credit programs. Act 255 offers Wisconsin income tax credits to angel investors and investors in seed-stage venture capital funds. Those who invest in the businesses are able to claim tax credits under the legislation originally enacted in 2004. Thrive was a key player in a 2009 statwide coalition that pushed to successfully expand these nationally-recognized credits.  FluGen will again benefit from these credits as it grows.

    In 2008, UW Madison was awarded a $1.3 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for influenza research (team headed by Dr. Kawaoka); WARF and Maryland-based Lentigen Corp agreed to broadly disseminate the knowledge generate in this project to the scientific community, meaning that key pieces of the intellectual property created during the project would be donated by WARF to the international research community to improve human health across the globe.

    Following a breakthrough by a team led by Drs. Kawaoka and Toko Watanabe in 2008 identifying the genes that enabled the deadly 1918 Spanish Influenza (responsible for killing between 20 and 50 million people), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the UW Madison a five-year, $9.5 million grant to identify virus mutations that would serve as early warnings of potential pandemic influenza viruses. Dr. Kawaoka was the principal investigator on the international team, charged with detecting an early warning system for pandemic viruses.

    From L-R: Paul Radspinner (president-CEO), Yoshi Kawaoka (co-founder), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Gabi Neumann (co-founder), Pamuk Bilsel (VP R&D) and Daryl Buss (Dean of UW Veterinary Medicine).

    From L-R: Paul Radspinner (president-CEO), Yoshi Kawaoka (co-founder), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Gabi Neumann (co-founder), Pamuk Bilsel (VP R&D) and Daryl Buss (Dean of UW Veterinary Medicine).

    In the meantime, FluGen was developing its product pipeline, and in March 2009 announced that it had secured exclusive rights to a novel, patent-protected vaccine-delivery technology developed by Madison, Wisconsin-based Ratio, Inc. FluGen is in pre-clinical testing of this device and expects in the first quarter of next year to submit an investigational new drug application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval to enter Phase I clinical trials by mid 2011.

    ————————————————————————————————————————————

    Brief history of the recent work of Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka: Joint appointment UW Madison (virologist, UW Madison School of Veterinary Medicine) and University of Tokyo; internationally-recognized expert on influenza research.

    • 1997: Dr. Kawaoka conducts detailed surveillance on Hong Kong Flu
    • 1999: Dr. Kawaoka and his team create the first artificial flu virus
    • 2005: Dr. Kawaoka studies a Vietnamese girl’s resistance to Tamiflu; begins production of a new technology to speed bird flu vaccine production
    • 2006: Dr. Kawaoka and team begin researching how flu viruses replicate
    • 2007: Dr. Kawaoka and team identify key steps in viral bird flu spread in humans
    • 2007: Dr. Kawaoka, Dr. Gabriele Neumann and Paul Radspinner, CEO, incorporate FluGen (Madison, Wisconsin)
    • 2007: FluGen secures $2.2 million in seed funding
    • 2008: WARF licenses flu vaccine and antiviral technology to FluGen
    • 2008: FluGen receives innovate Act 255 tax credits
    • 2008: Dr. Kawaoka and team identify lethal 1918 Spanish Flu genes
    • 2009: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awards UW Madison $1.3 million for flu research
    • 2009: FluGen secures exclusive rights to innovative vaccine delivery device
    • 2009: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awards UW Madison $9.5 million for flu research; principal investigator, Dr. Kawaoka

    Jennifer Smith, Thrive

    jsmith@thrivehere.org | http://www.thrivehere.org | Twitter @thrivehere
    Thrive is the economic development enterprise for the eight-county Madison Wisconsin Region.

    India Threatens European Union: ‘Don’t Stop Flow of Illegal Drugs’

    India’s Commerce Ministry drew attention to the “plight” of producers of infringing copies of vaccines last week, highlighting a need to quell the dangers of swine flu, whose vaccine is in legal development and as we speak (WHO Link):

    [Indian Company] Cipla has produced a generic version of the antiviral drug Tamiflu for sale to developing countries but no one, including India itself [emphasis added], has so far been willing to buy it, either because of financial constraints or concerns over violating intellectual property laws.

     The Financial Times does an excellent job of explaining the “request” :

    Myth One: The World is So Challenged by Swine Flu, It Should Allow the Unapproved, Illegal Flow of Drugs:

    “When the world is being challenged in another area, by swine flu, India is one of the countries that has been mandated by the World Health Organisation as ­having the capacity to develop vaccine along with other major countries,” Mr Sharma told the Financial Times on a visit to Seoul.

    Myth Two: India is Producing Illegal Drugs Out of Own Heart to Meet Global Health Needs:

    Mr Sharma’s comments are an escalation of a dispute over protectionism between India and one of its main trading partners… India’s pharmaceutical industry is one of the sectors of India’s fast-growing economy worst hit by the global economic downturn.

    Myth Three: India Is Trying to Solve the Problem:

    India’s commerce ministry declined to say when it might file a complaint at the WTO against the EU over drugs seizures… “[A resolution with the EU] might be in the process through discussions. But as of now we have no reason to change our stand,” said Rajeev Kher, a joint secretary of commerce.

    This story is courtesy of the Financial Times. In order to access the article, you must register (free).

    Sharing & Promoting Innovative Technology in Public-Private Global Development Partnerships

    Sharing and Promoting Innovative Technology in Public-Private Global Development Partnerships

    World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum, Geneva

    September 29, 2009

    The World Trade Organization Public Forum has become one of the most important platforms for dialogue among stakeholders of the multilateral trading system. Each year representatives from key international agricultural and development agencies attended the Public Forum as panellists and participants. The Public Forum draws significant attention from governments, non-government organizations, academics, businesses and the mass media.

    This year, CropLife International is assembling a diverse panel with substantial experience to offer their views on innovative solutions to critical global agricultural problems on Tuesday, September 29 (16:30-18:30) in Geneva.

    Panelists will discuss:

    1. The increasing importance of public-private partnerships for development;
    2. How such partnerships stimulate, protect, and share innovation, and
    3. The case of agricultural innovation as an example of the role of public-private global development partnerships in stimulating, protecting, and sharing innovation

    Technological advances can play a particularly central role in addressing agricultural challenges such as drought and destructive pests. Meeting these challenges sustainably will require new ideas, tools and technologies. The WTO Public Forum is an excellent opportunity to have a productive discussion on these important topics; we look forward to your participation.

    Invited Panelists:

    • Mr. Grant D. Aldonas – Senior Associate, Center for Strategic and International Studies (Invited)
    • Dr. Gerard F. Barry – Head, IPMU and Program 4 Leader, Golden Rice Network Coordinator, International Rice Research Institute (Invited)
    • Professor Sir Gordon Conway – Chair in International Development, Imperial College London, Imperial College (Confirmed)
    • Mr. Gavin Power – Deputy Director and Head of Financial Markets, UN Global Compact (Invited)

    For more information, visit Croplife’s website.

    New Series: Biotechnology Companies at Forefront of Global Health Innovation – Post #1: GlaxoSmithKline & Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

    On July 8 2009, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced a patent pool to compile intellectual property (IP) to develop treatments for 16 tropical diseases as identified by the FDA including malaria, TB and Chagas, found in 49 Least Developed Countries as defined by the United Nations. (GSK press release)

    The pool currently has two members (GSK and Alnylam) but is inviting others to participate. The donated IP will be non-exclusively licensed and royalty free for the purpose of addressing the above mentioned unmet needs. The current members of the patent pool will also provide for know-how, technical resources and training to be available to those who access the pool. The pool will also help in accessing financing where possible.
    GSK has donated IP for some of its New Chemical Entities (NCEs) and Alnylam has donated its RNAi platform technology to the pool for limited field of use.   

    For more information you can visit Alnylam and GSK websites. We will have updates as they become available.