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Seattle Times Commentary: New Approaches Needed to Fight Ebola

August 15, 2014
In the Seattle Times this week, BIO Ventures for Global Health President Jennifer Dent offered commentary on the need for new drug development models to develop treatments for Ebola, arguing that conventional approaches are not working for neglected tropical diseases. Partnerships involving drug companies as well as academic, non-profit, and government stakeholders are needed. Dent offers the WIPO Re:Search consortium as an example:
In 2011, BIO Ventures for Global Health established a partnership with the United Nations agency the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to launch a consortium called WIPO Re:Search. The consortium’s mission is to accelerate the development of new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for neglected tropical diseases, including dengue, West Nile virus, malaria and tuberculosis.

The time required to bring a drug to market can be significantly reduced by tapping into pharmaceutical resources and pipelines. Participating drug companies provide intellectual property assets to academic and nonprofit researchers here and overseas to help researchers address neglected infectious diseases.

The Re:Search collaborations include the sharing of drug compounds, compound libraries, computational chemistry, data, clinical samples, reagents and general drug-development expertise.

Professor Wellington Oyibo from the University of Lagos in Nigeria, where the Ebola epidemic is now an emergency situation, recently established a collaboration under WIPO Re:Search with the pharmaceutical giant Novartis.

Through this agreement, Oyibo and his colleagues in Lagos will advance their research to address diseases that disproportionally impact Nigerians.

“Bringing our experience, in the field and in Africa, together with the capabilities and skills of industry will significantly accelerate new solutions that will benefit us all,” said Oyibo.

Infectious diseases do not recognize international borders. Concerns about the spread of Ebola have surfaced in nations far from the initial outbreak where international travelers have been quarantined with common symptoms of Ebola.

Read the full piece here.