In August 2023 WHO announced that the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) has announced three new licensing agreements facilitated by the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP). The agreements will encourage the transfer of “know-how, materials, and clinical data” in different countries.
Launched in May 2020 by WHO and the Government of Costa Rica, C-TAP has the support of 44 Member States, the UN Development Programme, Unitaid, UNAIDS, and implementing partners like MPP. It works within the principles set out in the “Solidarity call to action” signed by the WHO Director-General and the President of Costa Rica.
It was designed to serve as a “platform” for developers of COVID-19 health interventions to “voluntarily share” their “intellectual property, knowledge, and data to accelerate technological innovation and expand global production capacity”. C-TAP was recognised as an important tool in the 2021 “Local Production Resolution” and has been critical in emphasising the role of technology and knowledge sharing, and access-oriented voluntary licensing.
The following agreements have been announced:
- Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp, the first private manufacturer, is offering its patent and know-how for a COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccine has been administered in over 3 million doses across 7 countries. This is the first time that a vaccine manufacturer is using the C-TAP model. This is a “win-win opportunity” for the manufacturer, technology recipients, and patients in need. The agreement enables licensing of IP facilitating technology transfer and staff training.
- Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) is sharing a second license for a COVID-19 vaccine prototype. The agreement includes plant visits and training, direct assistance, and ongoing consultation with recipient manufacturers, including on quality and regulatory matters.
- The University of Chile is sharing its technology for a COVID-19 assay for quantification of neutralising antibodies.
COVID-19: here to stay
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Who Director-General, commented that “COVID-19 is here to stay”.
‘The world will continue to need tools to prevent it, test for it, and treat it.”
He suggests that through C-TAP, WHO and partners are “committed” to making those tools “accessible to everyone, everywhere”. WHO recalls that during the “height of the COVID-19 pandemic” only two public health R&D Institutes shared their key technologies with C-TAP. Charles Gore, Executive Director of MPP, congratulated the organisations, hoping that it will “send an important message to other originators”.
“Access to essential medicines and health technologies needs to remain a top priority on the global health agenda.”
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