Patent pooling is a mechanism for the public health management of intellectual property through public-private partnerships, in our case a partnership between a foundation with a public health mandate and private pharmaceutical companies. Public health patent pools aim to improve access to medicines and health technologies, particularly in developing countries, and facilitate further innovation through non-exclusive voluntary licensing.
The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) was the first patent pool with a clear public health mandate that was established by Unitaid in 2010. MPP operates as a non-profit voluntary licensing mechanism through partnerships with originator pharmaceutical companies and generic manufacturers that facilitate access and promote innovation.
MPP negotiates licences with patent holders and licenses those patents to multiple manufacturers, who develop the licensed medicine, including new formulations and combinations. The treatments are made available in a defined set of developing countries, sometimes in exchange for royalties.
Key features of MPP licences
The terms and conditions in MPP licences seek to improve treatment options for the broadest number of people living in developing countries, and are negotiated on a case-by-case basis with each patent holder.