Unprecedented – The Rapid Innovation Response to COVID-19 and the Role of Intellectual Property

Jennifer Brant, Director of Innovation Council, will present a recent research report that she co-authored about the constructive role played by IP rights in the rapid development and manufacturing of COVID-19 solutions. Jetane Charsley, Head of NIPMO, will host the event and lead a moderated discussion.

Tuesday, May 10 / 01:00 PM Johannesburg (CET)

Click here to register for this event.

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Bobab discussion about bio-manufacturing in emerging regions

The Innovation Council and Bobab organised a discussion on expanding BioManufacturing production capacity in emerging regions. Biologics, a category of pharmaceuticals which includes products such as vaccines and monoclonal antibody treatments, are quickly becoming among the most important medical products in the world. By combining enabling government policies and technology transfer between innovators and their global partners, it will be possible to improve availability of biologics, increase health security, and enhance scientific and industrial capacity in developing countries.

Click here to see the transcript.

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ICC-WIPO Virtual Seminar: Harnessing Public Research for Innovation in the Time of Covid-19 and Beyond

On 20 July, ICC is co-organizing a seminar on “Harnessing Public Research for Innovation in the Time of Covid-19 and Beyond – The Role of Knowledge Transfer Policies” together with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), AUTM, and the Licensing Executives Society International (LESI). This virtual session will take place from 12:30-15:25 CET (Geneva time) and will be held in English with simultaneous interpretation provided in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.

Please register here with the following secure code: 33WSMBV521.

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Panelists Discuss Why Patent Waiver Would Not Accelerate Global Vaccine Distribution

At a panel held in June by The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA), two vaccine scientists, Professor Robin Shattock (Imperial College, London) and Dr. Anne Moore (University College Cork) discussed their thoughts on why a patent waiver related to COVID-19 vaccines would not speed up vaccine distribution in lower income countries.

Read the full story.

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HS codes relevant to inputs for COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics

Bio-pharmaceutical R&D and manufacturing inputs include: chemical or biological reagents; equipment used in laboratories; microscope parts; equipment for manufacturing such as single-use bioreactors; and the full range of raw materials used for R&D and production of vaccines and other bio-pharmaceuticals, such as guanidine thiocyanate. Researchers use these tools to make scientific breakthroughs, and bio-pharmaceutical companies rely on them to discover, develop, validate, and manufacture lifesaving vaccines, drugs, and therapies – including those necessary to address COVID-19 and future global health crises.

Some countries impose tariffs on bio-pharmaceutical inputs, in some cases as high as 25%. This raises costs and makes it more difficult for fledgling producers to compete. Eliminating tariffs on bio-pharmaceutical inputs could help to resolve some of the current global distribution challenges for COVID-related products, thereby helping to make the global COVID-19 response more equitable, affordable, and sustainable.

Unilateral elimination of COVID-19 related tariffs would provide substantial benefits in terms of the short-term dissemination of pharmaceutical inputs and vaccines.  Ultimately, however, tariff elimination should be made permanent and should cover a broader range of products. This would create legal certainty and predictability for actors along global value chains.

An appropriate vehicle for tariff elimination on inputs could be the WTO plurilateral agreement known as Zero for Zero, for which product coverage should be expanded to include the full range of COVID-19 bio-pharmaceutical inputs. In this respect, Innovation Council has developed a list of HS codes showing tariffs related to the inputs used for developing and producing COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. The list was developed in partnership with private sector actors in these value chains. A list of COVID-19 MFN product examples is available here.

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Spotlight on South Africa: 10 Questions for Biovac’s Patrick Tippoo

Innovation Council sat down with Patrick Tippoo, the Head of Science and Innovation at The Biovac Institute in South Africa to learn more about its activities and innovations.  Established in 2003 in Cape Town, Biovac was created to distribute, manufacture, and develop vaccines and biologics for Southern Africa.  Patrick, who has been with Biovac since its establishment, has more than 30 years in the industry.

Read the full interview.

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Are Chinese politics a threat to the patent system?

In this 2-minute video, Gaétan de Rassenfosse, Chair of Innovation and IP Policy at EPFL, explains that foreign companies operating in China are less likely to have their patent applications granted than their Chinese counterparts. This discrimination occurs in technologies of strategic importance to the Chinese government, particularly in the telecommunication and biotech industries.

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Techinvention’s scFv libraries help fight COVID-19

Innovation Council member Techinvention, has successfully generated two scFv libraries using phage display technologies from the convalescent plasma of COVID-19 recovered patients. The library now with us includes one billion different clones of antibody genes (VHs-Vκs and VHs-Vλs) with high probability to get high affinity fully human antibodies. This library will be used for the development of monoclonal antibody against multiple proteins of SARS-CoV-2 to address the looming threat posed by emerging mutant strains. It can also be used for diagnostic purposes, bioassays kit development, affinity maturation, studying protein-protein interactions and developing antibodies against other viral diseases with grave consequences and unmet medical needs.

For more information please click on the following links:

TechInvention Lifecare Pvt Ltd (
Fiocruz, Brazil (
Bio-Manguihos, Brazil (

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South Africa: Covid Vaccine Manufacturing

To battle COVID-19, the world will need vaccines. Expanding global manufacturing capacity is part of ensuring there are enough to go around. Biovac, based in South Africa, is committed to the long fight against the pandemic. The CEO, Dr Morena Makhoana, estimates that Biovac will be able to produce as many as 30 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. Biovac is part-owned by the South African Government. The company is still engaged in talks with global pharmaceutical companies regarding manufacturing and producing Covid-19 vaccines at its facilities in South Africa. The emergence of the second, more lethal variant has added some complexity – and urgency.

Read the full story.

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