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BIO Ventures for Global Health Chosen to Administer the GSK and Alnylam Intellectual Property Pool
Date:1/20/2010

Washington, Jan. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- BIO Ventures for Global Health, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and Alnylam announced today that the organizations are partnering to engage the global health community in using the powerful resources of the GSK and Alnylam Intellectual Property (IP) Pool.  The IP Pool was formed in February 2009 to aid in the discovery and development of new medicines for the treatment of 16 neglected tropical diseases, as defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in the world's least developed countries.  By adopting a more accessible approach to intellectual property, the pool facilitates access to compounds and technologies and, most importantly, industrial know-how for organizations that want to conduct research on treatments for these neglected diseases.

"New medicines for diseases that primarily affect the poor in developing countries have been slow in coming because although the market is large in numbers, most of the people affected and their governments cannot afford to pay even moderate prices. This means that much of the development of new medicines is taking place in innovative non-profits and academic research centers," says Melinda Moree, Chief Executive Officer of BIO Ventures for Global Health, an independent, non-profit organization.  "For many of these academic and global health non-profit groups, however, intellectual property can be perceived as preventing rather than enabling their work. I am excited to use this new role to help those working on developing products for neglected diseases speed up their efforts by accessing the patents, technologies, and product development expertise available in the IP Pool."

As the pool's administrator, BIO Ventures for Global Health will organize disease-specific meetings that identify the gaps in expertise and intellectual property that currently exist in product development for neglected diseases. BIO Ventures for Global Health will then help global health researchers work with industry to fill these gaps so that the resources generously made available by companies will be used to create medicines for neglected diseases faster and more efficiently.

"We applaud the actions of GSK, Alnylam, and other forward-thinking companies who want to contribute their knowledge and resources to help speed the development of medicines for poor patients in the developing world," says Moree. "The fact is that millions of people die each year from these neglected diseases and the pace of drug development is far too slow for the enormous need.  The IP Pool will move medicines for neglected diseases forward more quickly and effectively and help save lives in the developing world."

About the Intellectual Property (IP) Pool

The diseases targeted by the pool are the 16 diseases identified by the FDA for its own Neglected Tropical Diseases initiative. These are tuberculosis, malaria, blinding trachoma, buruli ulcer, cholera, dengue/dengue haemorrhagic fever, racunculiasis, fascioliasis, human African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, leprosy, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil transmitted helminthiasis and yaws. The geographic focus of the pool will be the world's Least Developed Countries as identified by the United Nations and includes much of western and central Africa as well as several countries in Southeast Asia. 

About BIO Ventures for Global Health

BIO Ventures for Global Health is a non-profit organization whose mission is to save lives by accelerating the development of novel biotechnology-based drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics to address the unmet medical needs of the developing world. The organization spurs biotech industry involvement in global health product development by increasing biotech and global health partnerships, designing and advocating for compelling market-based incentives, and synthesizing and disseminating critical information and quantitative analysis. For more information, please visit www.bvgh.org.

About GlaxoSmithKline – one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.  For further information, please visit www.gsk.com.

About Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

Alnylam is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics based on RNA interference, or RNAi.  The company is applying its therapeutic expertise in RNAi to address significant medical needs, many of which cannot effectively be addressed with small molecules or antibodies, the current major classes of drugs.  Alnylam is leading the translation of RNAi as a new class of innovative medicines with peer-reviewed research efforts published in the world's top scientific journals including Nature, Nature Medicine, and Cell.  The company is leveraging these capabilities to build a broad pipeline of RNAi therapeutics; its most advanced program is in Phase II human clinical trials for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection and is partnered with Cubist and Kyowa Hakko Kirin.  In addition, the company is developing RNAi therapeutics for the treatment of a wide range of disease areas, including liver cancers, TTR-mediated amyloidosis, hypercholesterolemia, and Huntington's disease.  The company's leadership position in fundamental patents, technology, and know-how relating to RNAi has enabled it to form major alliances with leading companies including Medtronic, Novartis, Biogen Idec, Roche, Takeda, Kyowa Hakko Kirin, and Cubist.  Alnylam and Isis are joint owners of Regulus Therapeutics Inc., a company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of microRNA-based therapeutics.  Founded in 2002, Alnylam maintains headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  For more information, please visit www.alnylam.com.

SOURCE BIO Ventures for Global Health

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SOURCE BIO Ventures for Global Health
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