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Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) announced the launch of a new collaboration with ViiV Healthcare – a joint venture between GlaxoSmithKline (76.5%), Pfizer (13.5%), and Shionogi (10%) – to facilitate greater availability of critically needed medicines for children living with HIV. ViiV Healthcare is the second research-based pharmaceutical business to join the Medicines Patent Pool, the first being Gilead Sciences.
We blogged about the MPP here, here, here and here. As has been noted, MPP was launched in 2010 by UNITAID with an aim to lower the cost of HIV medicines through licensing of key HIV patented drugs.
Under the new collaboration, a paediatric formulation of abacavir (an HIV medicine) can be supplied through licenses to 118 countries where 98.7% of children living with HIV reside (read here). It has also been reported that MPP and ViiV Healthcare have agreed to negotiate future licenses of drugs that ViiV Healthcare is currently developing. They have also committed to considering solutions for countries outside the 118 presently covered.
This is a step forward for MPP, however, many other major drug manufacturers are yet to join. As reported, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche and Boehringer-Ingelheim have plans to join the pool. But Abbott, Johnson & Johnson and Merck have so far remained outside any such talks.