New C-TAP agreement aims to improve global access to COVID-19 testing technology

A new open and transparent sub-licensing agreement just concluded between the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) on behalf of the COVID-19 Technology Access Group (C-TAP) and the South African pharmaceutical company Biotech Africa will accelerate the production and sale of serological drugs. technologies for detecting antibodies to COVID-19 worldwide.

The World Health Organization welcomes this sublicense agreement, the first of its kind, signed under the auspices of the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP). C-TAP was established in 2020 to ensure timely, equitable, and cost-effective access to COVID-19 healthcare products.

The new agreement is based on a license agreement announced by WHO and MPP last year, which was concluded with the Spanish High Council for Scientific Research (CSIC). This non-exclusive sublicense allows Biotech to manufacture and market the CSIC COVID-19 serological test worldwide.

“The most effective way to get ahead of — and keep up with — COVID-19 is to keep testing,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “This new agreement means we can now tap into idle manufacturing capacity so that more people in more countries can have easier access to low-cost diagnostic products. »

The test effectively looks for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies developed in response to a COVID-19 infection or a COVID-19 vaccine. The agreement covers all relevant patents as well as the biological material required for the production of the test. CSIC will transfer all its know-how to Biotech and also take care of the training. The license will be free for low- and middle-income countries and will be valid until the last patent expires.

“BioTech Africa is honored to be selected as the first biotech company in Africa to partner with C-TAP to facilitate local production of affordable COVID-19 monitoring devices,” said Jenny Leslie, COO of Biotech Africa.

“This recognition is the result of our perseverance and commitment to becoming a global player in the production of the highest quality recombinant proteins. The signing of this agreement underscores the company’s ongoing goal of serving diagnostic needs around the world,” she added.

“We are thrilled to see that the initiative behind the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool is bearing fruit in ensuring equitable access to vital health products for the world’s most vulnerable people,” said Charles Gore, Executive Director of MPP.

Launched in 2020 by the WHO Director-General and the President of Costa Rica, C-TAP, with the support of 44 Member States, aims to provide fast, equitable and affordable access to COVID-19 related health products. their production and distribution through open, non-exclusive license agreements.

The C-TAP platform provides an end-to-end solution for laboratories developing priority COVID-19 therapies, diagnostics, vaccines, and other medical technologies; the goal is to share knowledge and data, and to license the use of intellectual property by laboratories to other manufacturers through voluntary, non-exclusive and transparent public health oriented licensing.

By converging technology, labs developing health products related to COVID-19 can increase manufacturing capacity around the world and improve access to potentially life-saving tools.