SOUTH AFRICA – South African pharmaceutical company Biotech Africa has been awarded a non-exclusive sublicence that allows the company to manufacture and commercialize Spain’s National Research Council’s (CSIC) COVID-19 serological test worldwide.
The CSIC will also provide technical know-how to Biotech as well as training on manufacturing of the Spanish COVID-19 serological test that effectively checks for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies developed in response to COVID-19 infection or to a vaccine.
The non-exclusive sublicence also covers all related patents and biological material needed to manufacture the test and the license will be royalty-free for low- and middle-income countries and will valid until the patent expires.
Biotech Africa entered into the new open sublicense agreement for the COVID-19 antibody test through the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) on behalf of the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP).
The WHO’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool was inaugurated in 2020 by the WHO Director-General and the President of Costa Rica with the support of 44 WHO Member States to facilitate the timely, equitable and affordable access to COVID-19 health products
The sublicense that allows Biotech to manufacture and commercialize CSIC’s COVID-19 serological test worldwide aligns with C-TAP’s goal of providing equitable access to life-saving health products for the world´s most vulnerable people.
The agreement was announced by the World Health Organization on the second anniversary of the launch of C-TAP which aims to be a pool for the open-licensing of COVID treatment, vaccine and test technologies.
The WHO’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool was inaugurated in 2020 by the WHO Director-General and the President of Costa Rica with the support of 44 WHO Member States to facilitate the timely, equitable and affordable access to COVID-19 health products.
The C-TAP platform provides a global one-stop-shop for developers of COVID-19 priority health technologies to share knowledge and data and license their intellectual property to additional manufacturers through public health-driven, voluntary, non-exclusive and transparent licenses.
The agreement with Biotech Africa is the first of its kind to be signed under the auspices of the WHO’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool initiative following a licensing deal between WHO, MPP and Spain’s National Research Council in 2021.
“The most effective way to stay ahead of COVID-19 is to keep testing. This new agreement means we can take advantage of untapped manufacturing capacity so more people in more countries can have easier access to affordable diagnostics,” stressed WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The Medicines Patent Pool Executive Director Charles Gore has called on more ways of incentivizing the private sector to share patents and know-how, and how to put that into practice as it in unfair to expect for-profit organizations to change into philanthropies
“BioTech Africa is honored to have been selected to be the first biotechnology company in Africa to collaborate with C-TAP in order to facilitate the local manufacture of affordable COVID-19 surveillance devices,” said Jenny Leslie, Biotech Africa Chief Operations Officer.
Leslie expressed that the recognition is a product of BioTech’s dedication to become a global player in the manufacture of the highest quality recombinant proteins, adding that the signing of the license agreement emphasizes the company’s ongoing goal to support diagnostics needs around the world.
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