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Open innovation sharing

TAG overview

We have a responsibility to improve global access to health through our scientific and technological advances. We support a reliable and transparent legal framework for intellectual property that enables sustainable investment in research and development.

Our approach to sharing and protecting intellectual property

The responsible treatment of intellectual property is not a barrier to health, but rather ensures the safety and high quality of medicines for patients worldwide. Almost none of the medicines that address the highest burden of disease in low- and middle-income countries are protected by patents. Studies indicate that between 90% and 95% of the pharmaceutical products on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines are off-patent.

We support a sustainable approach to intellectual property that drives innovation and enables access to health. We refrain from enforcing patents in a majority of low- and middle-income countries. In markets where we do register product patents, we are transparent and committed to sharing data to the greatest possible extent and improving public access to clinical study data. We report on the patent status of our products via the publicly accessible database Pat-INFORMED. Additionally, we support voluntary licensing agreements, including non-exclusive voluntary licenses, legally binding non-assertion covenants and clauses that aim to broaden access to health. We also support the concept of patent pools and believe they should be structured to improve access to medicines, prevent anti-competitive behavior and overcome geographic limitations.

Through our open innovation research projects for global health, we grant access to small sections of our chemical compound libraries. In doing so, we aim to accelerate collaborative research programs that develop novel R&D platforms in search of new active ingredients for infectious diseases.

Roles and responsibilities

Our Open Innovation initiatives are collaborative and cross-functional efforts that facilitate the exchange of intellectual property. We aim to accelerate early discovery in diseases with high unmet needs through intellectual property sharing. We hope to foster the discovery of new generations of health solutions that will address the needs of the most vulnerable populations, with a primary focus on the neglected tropical disease schistosomiasis and on malaria.

Our commitment: Supporting transparent and reliable frameworks

We support TRIPS, an international agreement administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO). It addresses trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights as well as TRIPS addenda, such as the Special Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health. This agreement extended the deadline for the least developed countries to apply TRIPS provisions to pharmaceutical patents by 2033.

Improving access to patent information

We are a founding member of the Patent Information Initiative for Medicines (Pat-INFORMED), a global gateway to medicine patent information. Pat-INFORMED features patent information on small-molecule drugs for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hepatitis C, HIV, cancer, and respiratory disorders. It also covers products on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines that are not within these therapeutic areas.

Creating research opportunities

We are committed to accelerating innovation and advancing science for the benefit of the most neglected populations. That is why we catalyze research in the spirit of open innovation and with the intention of reducing financial barriers. For example, through our Schistosomiasis Research Grant Initiative, which we launched in 2021, we awarded 15 research projects € 30,000 each in the past years. Most of the progress reports from these projects were made available by the end of 2023 and have so far resulted in four publications and additional funding for other organizations.

In addition, our Open Global Health Library shares 250 compounds from our proprietary chemical library that may be used for infectious diseases research. Since its launch in 2020, the library has been accessed 24 times for screening in 17 indications.

We are also collaborating with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) and, through the memorandum of understanding with DNDi and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, continuing our dialogue for research in the field of schistosomiasis.

More information on our collaborations regarding open innovation for global health can be found on our website.

Neglected tropical disease (NTD)
Neglected tropical diseases affect more than 1 billion people in primarily poor populations living in tropical and subtropical climates in low- and middle-income countries. NTDs include schistosomiasis, intestinal worms, trachoma, lymphatic filariasis, and onchocerciasis. This group of 20 diseases is called neglected because, despite the large number of people affected, they have historically received less attention and research funding than other diseases.
Patent pool
A consortium of at least two competing companies that allows partners to share the use of patents relating to a particular technology.
Schistosomiasis is a chronic condition and one of the most common and most devastating parasitic diseases in tropical countries. Flatworms transmit the disease. It is widespread in regions where large sections of the population have no access to clean water or sanitary installations. People are infected by the parasite when exposed to infested water during routine agricultural, domestic, occupational, and recreational activities. The minuscule larvae penetrate human skin, enter the blood vessels and attack internal organs. The infection rate is particularly high among children. Untreated schistosomiasis can cause potentially fatal chronic inflammation of vital organs as well as anemia, stunted growth and impaired learning ability, all of which have devastating consequences for the lives of children.
Small-molecule drugs
Substances with a low molecular weight ("small"-molecule) substances consist of only a few hundred atoms. Compared to larger biological treatments, the particularly small size of these drugs makes it more likely that they will reach their target in the body. Today, the vast majority of pharmaceuticals are of the small-molecule kind.
The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization. TRIPS seeks to ensure that the measures and procedures for enforcing intellectual property rights do not become a barrier to lawful trade.


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