France to fund MPP for its expansion into COVID-19 health technologies
16 December 2021
The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) warmly welcomes France’s contribution of Euro 20 million to fund MPP’s ongoing expansion into COVID-19 health technologies, including treatments, diagnostics, and vaccines. This initial five-year (2021-2025) project aims to address inequities in access to health technologies and the lack of supply security, as highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, in many parts of the world, including Africa. As part of the COVAX Manufacturing Taskforce, MPP will use its proven voluntary licensing model and experience in carrying out technology transfer for vaccines and biotherapeutics such as monoclonal antibodies. It will support the World Health Organization (WHO) in increasing local production of COVID-19 vaccines and other products for sustainability. MPP will also seek voluntary licensing of biotherapeutics beyond COVID-19.
“I am thrilled by France’s commitment to voluntary licensing and technology transfer and for its trust in MPP. The work we will carry out is a critical piece contributing to a historical moment – a much-needed shift in vaccine, treatments and diagnostics security and equity for low- and middle-income countries,” said Charles Gore, Executive Director of MPP.
Recently, MPP has signed three voluntary licences that will allow for rapid access to COVID-19 treatments and diagnostics. These include two licences for investigational oral antiviral treatments, one with MSD for molnupiravir, one with Pfizer for PF-07321332, and one global non-exclusive diagnostic licence with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) for a COVID-19 serological antibody technology.
In June 2021, WHO announced the establishment of the first hub for mRNA vaccine technology transfer in South Africa. Working with WHO and African partners, Afrigen, Biovac, SAMRC, African CDC, the consortium has set out an ambitious timeline to ensure that the manufacturing capacity of mRNA vaccines will become available on the African continent and beyond in the coming years. Through France’s contribution, the South African hub, as well as any further hub, will benefit from MPP’s vast experience of intellectual property (IP) management and issuing of IP licences.
With the support of its funders, including Unitaid, MPP is determined to contribute to the acceleration to the equitable and universal access to health products, including against COVID-19.