Alongside global events for World Aids Day, the University of Liverpool and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), a United Nations-backed public health organisation, have announced a collaboration and licensing agreement to reformulate certain poorly soluble HIV drugs into lower dose formulations for low and middle income countries.
Under the terms of the agreement, the University will license to MPP its patented Solid Drug Nanoparticle (SDN) technology which can improve delivery of current HIV therapies into the body, reducing both the dose and the cost per dose and enable existing aid budgets to save more lives.
Countries with limited health budgets face difficult challenges in making more HIV treatment available. Reducing the doses of current HIV therapies would accelerate global efforts to make therapies available to more patients.
The collaboration comes as the University is due to start the first of two human clinical trials of oral HIV nanomedicines in December 2015.
The work is led by Liverpool Pharmacologist, Professor Andrew Owen and Liverpool Materials Chemist, Professor Steve Rannard and their collaborative nanomedicine research programme on infectious diseases, inflammation, and oncology.
This collaboration is the first time MPP has licensed technology from a university and complements the MPP’s voluntary licensing work with the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies and generic manufacturers to speed delivery of low-cost antiretrovirals to developing countries.
University of Liverpool Vice-Chancellor Professor Janet Beer upon signing the agreement said: “There are no international barriers to great research and development. Innovation is needed to ensure that the best medicines reach those who need them the most.
“We are delighted to have forged such a strong collaboration with MPP which is a crucial way to create impact from research through the development of new therapies for HIV, a disease that continues to present one of our greatest global challenges.”
MPP will provide support for clinical validation and regulatory approval and, help secure partners to first develop and then scale up manufacture and deliver the new SDN products to people living with HIV in low- and middle- income countries. .
Greg Perry, Executive Director of the Medicines Patent Pool, said: “The combination of MPP’s expertise in public health-oriented licensing and the University’s innovative approach to dosage reduction through nanotechnology could make a strong difference in scaling up HIV treatment.”
According to recent numbers released by UNAIDS, approximately 36.9 million people are living with HIV, but only 15.8 million people around the world have access to antiretroviral therapy, a gap that this collaboration aims to reduce.
The University of Liverpool is at the forefront of nanomedicine research and development, with additional recent developments from the two cross-Faculty teams being the launch of the British Society for Nanomedicine and core membership of the European Nanotechnology Characterisation Laboratory funded through the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 scheme.
MPP is a United Nations-backed public health organisation wholly funded by UNITAID.