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Cheaper drugs, vaccines forecast as collaborations grow between developing countries' biotech firms
Date:5/10/2010

The availability of more affordable drugs, vaccines and diagnostics that would help countless people worldwide is the foremost benefit expected from a growing number of collaborations between biotech firms in developing countries, according to a study to be published Mon. May 10 in the UK journal Nature Biotechnology.

Researchers from five developing countries, together with colleagues at Canada's McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health, interviewed over 300 experts in 13 developing countries to produce the first-ever large scale study of "south-south" collaboration in health-related biotechnology.

They found health biotech firms in Africa, Asia and Latin America are increasingly building trade and marketing links and pooling resources to address shared health problems in countries where a large proportion of the population can only afford low-priced health products.

When these developing country firms fully leverage their respective strengths, they could deliver health products that reach far more poor people than products from firms in rich countries, according to the study.

The international research team focused both on collaboration in research, typically carried out by universities and public research organisations, and collaboration in entrepreneurial activities, typically carried out by firms.

They say more than one quarter of health biotech firms in Brazil, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, and South Africa have built linkages with other developing countries as south-south collaborations start catching up to more traditional north-south partnerships.

Says project leader Halla Thorsteinsdttir of the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health, at the University Health Network and University of Toronto: "The key finding is that biotechnology firms in developing countries are becoming less dependent on relationships with similar firms in the industrialized north they are able to help each other.
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Contact: Terry Collins
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health
Source:Eurekalert

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