Message from the Executive Director, Greg Perry

Our mission and model

The MPP has a clear mission: to increase access and innovation in the fields of HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis treatment for people living in developing countries.

Our model is based on the concept of patent pooling and voluntary licensing.

Our strategy – partnership

The MPP collaborates with many public health organisations, including intellectual property (IP) holders, the originator pharmaceutical industry, generic manufacturers, governments, civil society and patient groups, and international organisations. Consultation, negotiation and transparency are our primary operating principles.


Our four priorities

Our overall strategy has four key objectives:

  1. We aim to conclude public-health-oriented and transparent licences to ensure the maximum number of people living in developing countries can benefit from low-cost treatment.
  2. We look to accelerate the availability of new medicines to high-burden countries by decreasing the time from signing a sublicence to generic regulatory submission.
  3. We encourage the development of formulations that are more easily administered in low- and middle-income nations, such as fixed-dose combinations and paediatric formulations.
  4. We enhance the transparency of the intellectual property (IP) status of health commodities. The MedsPaL portal, which provides public access to patent and licence status information for HIV, hepatitis C and TB treatments, is a key part of this objective.


Building on success – contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) for health

The 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals set ambitious targets for improving health outcomes, among them the end of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis by 2030, and a revitalised push to combat hepatitis. Distributing better-adapted, lower-cost treatments for HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis C strongly supports the international community’s new development agenda.

The MPP has been very successful in licensing WHO-recommended and new antiretrovirals, several with the potential to drastically improve standard of care. For HIV, we will explore novel drugs and delivery systems for in-licensing, as we increase our work with developers to bring MPP-licensed treatments through registration and distribution.

With our vast network of generic industry partners, we are currently managing 120 projects to produce both active pharmaceutical ingredients and formulations.

For hepatitis C, ten generic suppliers are now licensed to produce and distribute Bristol-Myers Squibb’s treatment, daclatasvir, a new antiviral with the potential of working across all genotypes of the virus. In addition, our licence with Gilead Sciences for tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and  tenofovir alafenamide benefits people living with chronic hepatitis B, a disease that affects 257 million people globally. We plan to begin negotiations with other hepatitis patent holders soon.

We have also signed our first licence for an investigational tuberculosis treatment. If successfully developed in conjunction with other compounds, sutezolid could play a part in a more appropriate, effective response to treating both drug-sensitive and drug-resistant tuberculosis. We have signed a sublicensing agreement with TB Alliance for the clinical development of sutezolid. We expect to licence other TB treatments as well.


Looking to the future – expanding partnership

Over the coming years, we will continue to work with a broad range of organisations to maximise the impact of our work and to fulfil our mission.

We will consult communities and patient groups, especially in developing countries, to understand their current and future treatment needs and license products with the greatest potential to extend and enhance lives.

We will maintain our open dialogue with IP holders and industry partners to identify innovative pipeline treatments and delivery systems with the aim of opening negotiations to conclude timely public-health-oriented voluntary licensing agreements.

We will explore the possibility of extending partnerships with academic research institutions and universities that may hold key IP for future drug development, building on the models we have established with the University of Liverpool and Johns Hopkins University.

We will work with our generic company partners to ensure timely development programmes and speedy registration, with specific attention to facilitating market authorisation at country level. To achieve this objective, we will also work closely with the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and key national and regional regulatory authorities.

We will expand our work and contribution to partnerships we have jointly initiated, such as the Paediatric HIV Treatment Initiative (PHTI) and The Life Prize, formerly the 3P Initiative for TB Drug Development.

We will continue to work closely with other public health bodies including the WHO, the Global Fund, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and particularly Unitaid – our founder and principle funder – to accelerate access to new HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis treatments.

We will also expand MedsPaL through partnerships with national patent offices, building on current collaborations with the European Patent Office, the World Intellectual Property Organizaton, Chile’s National Institute of Industrial Property, the Dominican Republic’s National Office of Industrial Property, the Ecuadorian Institute of Intellectual Property, El Salvador’s National Center of Registries (CNR) and South Africa’s Companies and Intellectual Property Commission.


New horizons

We are now looking into how we might apply or adapt our model to improve access to new essential treatments in areas such as oncology and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Thanks to funding from the Swiss Government, in 2017 we have undertaken a feasibility study to analyse patent pooling and voluntary licensing initiatives for patented medicines on the World Health Organization’s Model List of Essential Medicines.

We are also working with others, such as patent offices, users, and industry and patent experts, to review how MedsPaL could expand its activities beyond the three existing disease areas.


Conclusion

These are critical times for public health. The SDGs provide a clear global plan for action, but securing long-term funding and sustained commitment will be difficult. Ending HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in this generation, and moving toward universal health and essential medicines coverage, will require creative ways of working together.

We believe our public-health-oriented model is one part of the answer. By working with developers and communities to expand access to low-cost, quality HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis medicines, we support the expansion of treatment in countries hardest hit by these epidemics. The right treatment at the right price, and in the right formulation, can make a difference in overall efforts to reach the SDGs for health over the coming decades.

We, at the MPP, are looking forward to making our contribution by successfully implementing our strategy.

We thank Unitaid for its confidence and continued financial support.