Medigen shares COVID vaccine tech with WHO in world-first deal
The Taiwanese biotech firm is the first commercial entity to share IP and know-how via a WHO pool set up in 2020
Taiwanese biotech firm Medigen yesterday, August 29, became the first commercial entity to share COVID vaccine technology with the World Health Organization.
Medigen’s vaccine unit was among three licensors to share tech via the WHO’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) in new deals, alongside research institutes in Spain and Chile.
The deals involve the licensing of patents as well as the sharing of know-how, materials, and clinical data.
More than three million doses of Medigen's vaccine have been administered across seven countries.
The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) agreed to share access to a COVID vaccine prototype while the University of Chile will share tech for a COVID antibody test.
“COVID-19 is here to stay, and the world will continue to need tools to prevent it, test for it and treat it,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general.
“I am grateful to the leadership shown by those licence holders who have contributed technology,” he added.
Charles Chen, CEO of Medigen Vaccine Biologics, said solidarity and cooperation were the foundations of an effective pandemic response.
“This is not just about COVID-19; it is about setting a precedent for future global health challenges.
“We hope to inspire other organisations to follow suit,” Chen said.
Previously, only two public health institutes – the CSIC, which signed a separate deal with C-TAP in 2021, and the US National Institute of Health – had agreed to license tech through the WHO pool since it was set up in 2020.
Access to medicine campaigners welcomed the news as a “significant step” and urged major COVID vaccine makers to share their intellectual property.
Julia Kosgei, policy co-lead for campaign group the People’s Vaccine Alliance, said: “By sharing technology with C-TAP, these organisations are placing the needs of humanity over the narrow perception of profit and self-interest that has so far plagued the pharmaceutical industry.”
“It is shameful that, despite receiving unprecedented public funding and advance purchases, not even one of the major pharmaceutical companies has shared vaccine technology with C-TAP,” Kosgei added.
Negotiations for a pandemic prevention treaty, including potential reforms to the global intellectual property system, are currently ongoing at the WHO.