Extensive sharing of IP capital with third-party researchers to accelerate R&D
Often, needed pharmaceuticals are not available because commercial market incentives are too weak to drive R&D that targets diseases predominantly affecting vulnerable populations in resource-limited countries. When companies share their intellectual capital with third-party researchers developing or adapting products to address needs of poorer populations, they help to accelerate R&D. When it comes to sharing IP capital, two companies represent best practice: Entasis and GSK.
How does Entasis demonstrate best practice?
Entasis demonstrates best practice with six IP-sharing initiatives, sharing molecules and drug analogues with universities and research centres to enable the identification of leading candidates for research. Initiatives include academic collaborations with the University of Cape Town (South Africa), the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College (China), the University of South Florida and New York-based Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital (USA). Entasis also collaborates with Zai Lab, a Chinese commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company, on a proprietary reagent for the treatment of carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii infections. Further, it shares significant intellectual capital on the development (non-clinical and clinical), manufacturing and regulatory items of zoliflodacin (first-in-class oral antibiotic for the treatment of Neisseria gonorrhoeae) with the Global Antibiotics Research and Development Partnership (GARDP).
How does GSK represent best practice?
Like Entasis, GSK stands out in this area, with a focus on tuberculosis (TB) and with eight varied initiatives. Through a collaboration agreement with the WIPO Re: Search consortium, it shares a set of small molecules with activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis with researchers at the University of California, Berkeley (USA). It also established the independent, not-for-profit, Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation (TCOLF) — a project-based collaborative environment that allows independent researchers to access GSK R&D facilities, resources and expertise. Other IP-sharing initiatives include a project with the University of Washington focusing on drug discovery for Shigella; material transfer agreements with nine institutions for GSK’s TB compounds data set; and sharing collection sets of TB whole cell positives (the 'TB Box') with Texas A&M University. From 2013-2018, it was involved in the TB Drug Accelerator, led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It also shares active clinical compounds with two European Commission-funded TB projects; and shares expertise and resources with external researchers and scientists through its open innovation strategy (China, EU and USA).