Since its launch two years ago, Roche has signed Technology Transfer agreements with a total of nine companies across sub-Saharan Africa and the world's Least Developed Countries. Furthermore Roche has received expressions of interest from a total of 35 manufacturers in 15 eligible countries, including Kenya, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. Roche will continue to work with these individual applicants to assess production capabilities.
William M. Burns, CEO Division Roche Pharma, said: "These new agreements highlight the ongoing contribution that our Technology Transfer Initiative is making to help strengthen and expand local manufacturing capabilities for HIV medicines in resource-limited countries. With more local manufacturers now looking to scale-up production of essential medicines, the continued uptake of this initiative highlights Roche as an innovative leader in supporting sustainable solutions to improve HIV healthcare where it is needed most."
In addition to these four new agreements, Roche has expanded the Technology Transfer Initiative with training seminars for local manufacturers across sub-Saharan Africa and the world's Least Developed Countries. These sessions focus on the development of improved manufacturing processes and provide a forum for Roche to share its knowledge and experience with those who have access to fewer resources. The knowledge gained by local manufacturers enables them to strengthen their manufacturing capability, increase manufacturing knowledge on the production of medicines beyond HIV.
Rahul Malhotra, CEO Shelys Pharmaceuticals, Tanzania commented: "The practical support that Roche has provided has been a great learning experience for my team, enabling us to make improvements to our entire technical and quality systems. We have been enthused by this partnership and are eager to work with Roche on this initiative to help meet the needs of our people suffering from HIV infections, and improve availability of these badly needed medications."
Roche's dedicated team will work onsite at manufacturing facilities at all four locations and from its headquarters in Switzerland to undertake the technology transfers. The companies will be able to produce saquinavir for supply throughout countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and to those defined as Least Developed by the United Nations, due to Roche's policy of not filing patents on antiretroviral medicines in these countries.
About Roche's Technology Transfer Initiative
Interested local manufacturers in the following countries are invited to contact Roche to discuss the Technology Transfer Initiative: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Congo, CÃ´te d'Ivoire, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kenya, Kiribati, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritius, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nigeria, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
About Roche's patent and pricing policy
In addition to its Technology Transfer Initiative, Roche will maintain its current pricing and patent policy. No patents for any of Roche medicines â across all disease areas â will be filed in the worldâs Least Developed Countries (LDCs), as defined by the UN. Roche will not file patents on new antiretroviral medicines in LDCs or sub-Saharan Africa. Roche will not take action in these countries against the sale or manufacture of generic versions of antiretroviral medicines. Generic versions of such HIV medicines can therefore be produced in LDCs and sub-Saharan Africa without the need for a voluntary or compulsory licence. Roche makes its HIV protease inhibitors Invirase and Viracept available at no profit prices for direct supplies from Roche Basel to LDCs and sub-Saharan Africa.
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world's leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As the world's biggest biotech company and an innovator of products and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, the Group contributes on a broad range of fronts to improving people's health and quality of life. Roche is the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics and drugs for cancer and transplantation, a market leader in virology and active in other major therapeutic areas such as autoimmune diseases, inflammation, metabolic disorders and diseases of the central nervous system. In 2006 sales by the Pharmaceuticals Division totaled 33.3 billion Swiss francs, and the Diagnostics Division posted sales of 8.7 billion Swiss francs. Roche has R&D agreements and strategic alliances with numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and Chugai, and invests approximately 7 billion Swiss francs a year in R&D. Worldwide, the Group employs about 75,000 people. For further information, please visit www.roche.com.