Penn’s Innovations and the Global Poor Abstract

Penn’s Innovations and the Global Poor
Facilitating Access to Medicines in Developing Countries
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
● Abstract ○
● The Case for University Action ○
● Transforming Passion into Action ○
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) is a
national student advocacy group at about 25 research
universities across North America. Chapters are united by a
common goal of improving access to medicines in poor
countries through university action. This goal has been
operationalized through a two-fold mission: 1) to determine
how universities can help ensure that biomedical end
products, such as drugs, are made more accessible in poor
countries; and 2) to promote research on neglected diseases.
The University of Pennsylvania is in a unique position to
serve as a trailblazer in addressing one of the most
challenging humanitarian crises of our time. Penn’s extensive
research activities, with an annual research budget of over
$750 million, suggest a great potential for making globally
relevant discovery. Secondly, the university has an avowed
commitment to advancing global health. The Penn chapter’s
advocacy efforts have implemented a triphasic approach of
self-education, collaboration, and open discussion in attempts
to implement meaningful change. If adopted, Penn will be at
the forefront of a national movement to develop more
socially-conscious university licensing policy.
Universities play a substantial and increasingly critical role in drug
Engaging the Students
 Rapid increase in patenting and commercialization
 Major players in the biopharmaceutical arena, holding key
patents on drugs critical to the treatment of AIDS, glaucoma,
cancer, anemia, and infection
While the ultimate solution is likely to require collective action,
Penn is well-situated to be a leader in ensuring that its pioneering
discoveries reach those who need it most.
Examples of disclosures currently available from the Penn
Center for Technology Transfer:
Penn researcher Dr. Mark Greene’s
research underlies a first-line
monoclonal antibody treatment for
HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer
marketed by Genentech.
Treatment and Prevention of P. falciparum
Irreversible HIV1 Protease Inhibitor
Novel HIVs useful in Vaccine Development
and HIV Drug Design
Monoclonal Antibody Vaccines
Ongoing member recruitment and a teach-in sponsored
by the Penn AMSA chapter has led to active
engagement of the undergraduate, law school, nursing,
and Wharton students.
Engaging the Faculty and Administration
Penn UAEM members have met with over thirty faculty
members in efforts to seek support and guidance. Thus
far, fifteen have pledged their support via signed letters.
Dr. Art Caplan | Director, Center for Bioethics
Dr. Garret FitzGerald | Chair, Department of Pharmacology and
Director, Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics
Dr. James Hoxie | Director, Penn Center for AIDS Research
Dr. Robert Doms | Chair, Department of Microbiology
Dr. Mark Greene | John Eckman Professor of Medical Sciences
Dr. Gary Koretzky | Leonard Jarett Professor of Pathology and
Laboratory Medicine
Dr. David Roos | Merriam Professor of Biology and Director,
Genomics Institute
Dr. Fred Frankel | Professor of Microbiology
Dr. Martin Carroll | Assistant Professor of Medicine
Dr. Yvonne Paterson | Professor of Microbiology
Furthermore, UAEM’s proposals are well aligned with Penn’s
stated goal of becoming a more globally engaged university.
● Significance & Impact ○
● Specific Proposals ○
Approximately ten million
people die each year because
they lack access to existing
medicines and vaccines. The
access gap stems from 1)
inadequate health care delivery
systems; 2) insufficient public
financing for health care; and 3)
high prices for medicines.
1. Penn should adopt licensing provisions that facilitate
access to its health-related innovations in poor countries.
(WHO 2004)
African Trypansomiasis, commonly
referred to as sleeping sickness,
kills up to 500,000 people annually
in Africa (WHO 2005).
 Conduct more than half of U.S. basic science research
Penn medical students attended the national UAEM
teach-in in Washington D.C.
Resolutions in support of
UAEM proposals were passed
by the Medical Student
Government, Graduate and
Professional Students
Association, and
Undergraduate Assembly.
Millions more die from so-called
neglected diseases, those
diseases predominantly afflicting
populations to poor to attract
private sector R&D investment. In
2005, ninety percent of research
funding targeted only 10 percent
of the global disease burden.
 UAEM advocates implementing “Equitable Access
Licensing,” which facilitates generic competition in poor
countries. Open licensing would be used to allow third
party manufacturers to compete in low- and middleincome countries.
2. Penn should promote research on neglected diseases that
principally impact the global poor and find ways to work
with nontraditional partners that seek to develop medicines
for those diseases.
 Facilitate partnerships with public-private partnerships
 Remove barriers from accepting foundation funding
 Monitor university innovations for potential ND application
 Lower IP hurdles for the ND research arena
Faculty advisors also include Dr. Brian Strom (Director of the
Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics) and Dr. Afaf
Meleis (Dean of the School of Nursing).
A recent roundtable discussion that included Penn’s
Vice Provost for Research, top legal experts, and basic
scientists led to a consensus to move forward in
capitalizing on Penn’s opportunity to enhance access to
Engaging the University
An upcoming university-wide forum will feature an
interactive panel discussion of humanitarian licensing. The
Daily Pennsylvanian is excited to provide media coverage.
A White paper describing Penn UAEM policy proposals in
detail and assessing potential impact is forthcoming and
will be posted on our website.
Correspondence to: Amit Khera, [email protected]