Home Biotechnology Industry News
Biotechnology industry news, updates, and press releases

The British colonial administration established the University of Ibadan (UI) in 1948 as an extension of the University College London and it became Nigeria's first full-fledged and premier university in 1962. The university comprises 13 faculties and a distance learning programme. Among the university's faculties is one for Science, one for Technology and another for Agriculture and Forestry. These are in addition to the Research Centres which address specific societal needs. The institution boasts of over 20 000 students, 30 per cent of which are postgraduate.

Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology

Biotechnology companies can play an important role in advancing technologies for global health. Initiatives such as Genzyme's Humanitarian Assistance for Neglected Diseases and Alnylam's Intellectual Property (IP) contributions to the Pool for Open Innovation against Neglected Tropical Diseases show a commitment to helping produce badly needed health technologies, but unmet needs for new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics for diseases affecting developing countries remain. Controlling malaria, visceral leishmaniasis and other infectious diseases that cause significant morbidity and mortality requires new and improved technological tools. Biotechnology companies’ expertise in biologics, point-of-care diagnostics and preclinical drug development is invaluable in this field, which is short of innovators.

Most firms, however, face disincentives in conducting R&D for global health since product markets are small and uncertain, the scientific problems are tough to solve, and few existing financing or policy mechanisms compensate for the risk. Product Development Partnerships and other non-profit initiatives have taken on much of the work in this area through grant financing and have often partnered with industry, but biotechnology firms could play a greater role. New policy and financing mechanisms that can balance the investment equation and encourage biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms to include global health diseases in their R&D portfolios could unleash important advances in global health technologies.

Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology

Illicit online pharmacies selling counterfeit drugs in a global virtual marketplace remain a critical problem in global health. Yet they continue to operate with little regulation while growing numbers of consumers access the Internet for health information that may lead them to purchase dangerous drugs online. This global social problem requires immediate action to protect patient safety and public health. Public–private partnerships models represent a potentially effective way to address this issue through promoting mechanisms of collaboration and coordination of multiple stakeholders.

Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology

The global drug supply chain has resulted in tremendous vulnerabilities. Despite individual country efforts, both developed and resource-poor countries have experienced tremendous challenges with ensuring safety of the drug supply. In this piece, the formation of a novel public–private partnership (PPP), the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM), is described to illustrate the issues involved in creation of a successful stakeholder-based PPP. It then expands this discussion to the unique concerns when establishing global PPPs, describing the formation of the PSM-India. The formation of these partnerships may guide future efforts to create PPPs to address other public health and patient safety issues.

Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology

Despite some law enforcement successes, organizations engaged in counterfeiting continued manufacturing, distributing and selling a wide range of unsafe medicines during the past year. This article will identify some of these successes that were made possible due to a public–private partnerships, as well as some of the challenges facing patients around the world. It also outlines the activities of the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, which engages through member companies and independently in public–private efforts to combat the problem of counterfeit drugs. These efforts may serve as models for innovative public–private partnerships that may be effective in coordinated, global efforts to protect the safety of the drug supply.

Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology

Many potentially useful medicines arise from developing countries’ biodiverse environments as well as from indigenous community knowledge. This bioprospecting has become an important strategy in drug discovery and development. However, global intellectual property rules have resulted in biopiracy, where public and private entities have exploited natural and ethnic resources without benefit sharing with indigenous peoples. Sovereign-based approaches have not led to adequate biodiversity management. There is tremendous opportunity for public-private partnerships to fill this void. Coupling pharmaceutical companies with indigenous peoples, civil society organizations, and country academics, long term, trust-based relationships can provide equitable benefits sharing and effective biodiversity management.

Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology