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GlaxoSmithKline's HIV/AIDS Business Joins Medicines Patent Pool

February 28, 2013

"GlaxoSmithKline's HIV/AIDS drugs business is to share intellectual property rights on children's medicine in a patent pool designed to make treatments more widely available in poor countries," Reuters reports. "ViiV Healthcare, majority-owned by GSK, is the second research-based pharmaceutical business to sign up to the new Medicines Patent Pool, following a lead set in 2011 by Gilead Sciences," the news service adds. "The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), launched in 2010 by the UNITAID health financing system that is funded by a levy on airline tickets, aims to address the remaining gap [in treatment coverage] by getting patent holders to share know-how with makers of cheap generic drugs," the news service notes.

"In the case of ViiV, a key pediatric medicine known as abacavir will be made available to generic manufacturers which will be able to take a license to make and sell it in 118 poor countries, the patent pool said on Wednesday," according to Reuters. "ViiV and the patent pool have also agreed to negotiate further licenses that will allow generics firms to manufacture low-cost versions of an experimental drug, dolutegravir, that is currently awaiting regulatory approval in Western markets," the news service writes, adding, "ViiV -- which is owned 76.5 percent by GSK, 13.5 percent by Pfizer and 10 percent by Shionogi -- only signed up to the patent pool after lengthy negotiations" (Hirschler, 2/27).

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