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

We expect that, in future, we will increasingly see 'brother-sister' relationships between biotech firms in the developing world, and fewer 'parent-child' relationships with firms in developed countries."

"This first-ever survey of such relationships reveals that there are huge benefits to so-called 'south-south' collaboration, that the seeds of such collaboration can indeed deliver the fruit of better health to those in need."

For example, during Africa's 2007 meningitis outbreak, biotech firms in Brazil and Cuba used their respective strengths to provide African countries with affordable vaccines to prevent further spread of the disease.

"By working together, the two countries quickly developed a cost effective vaccine for Africa -- a clear example of how south-south collaboration is motivated by solidarity with each other and can actively improve global health," says co-author Dr. Tirso Senz of the Univeristy of Brasilia.

And, to combat persistent cholera outbreaks, firms in Bangladesh and India have teamed up to develop a new vaccine that, if successful, will be manufactured by the Indian firm Biological E (Hyderabad, India).

"India has strength in vaccine manufacturing and can do it cheaply. This is an advantage that other countries and international organisations should take advantage of," says co-author Dr. Sachin Chaturvedi of the New Delhi think tank Research and Information System for the Developing Countries.

Firms in Brazil, China, Cuba, Egypt, India and South Africa reported nearly 280 south-south collaborations. Brazil reported more than 60 such arrangements while mighty China -- reflecting its massive domestic market -- had fewer than little Cuba, a long time leader in innovative health strategies.

Surprisingly, governments and international organizations play a minimal role at this point, involved in less than 10 per cent of all south-south collaborations, the study reports.


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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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