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[e-drug] Roche AIDS technology transfers to Africa

E-DRUG: Roche AIDS technology transfers to Africa

[pls note it is a multinational company's press release. Moderator]

New AIDS Tech Transfers Reinforce Roche Commitment To Strengthen African 
03 Jun 2007

Roche has announced the agreement of two new technology transfers with local 
manufacturing companies in Africa -- Addis Pharmaceutical Factory in Ethiopia 
and Varichem Pharmaceuticals in Zimbabwe. As part of Roche's Technology 
Transfer Initiative, these companies will be provided free of charge with the 
technical expertise and guidance to manufacture generic HIV medicine, based 
upon the processes to produce saquinavir, Roche's 2nd line[1] HIV medicine. To 
date, Roche has Technology Transfer agreements with a total of five companies 
across Africa since its launch in January 2006. Roche has received expressions 
of interest from a total of 32 manufacturers in 15 eligible countries, 
including Kenya, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. Roche is working with these 
individual applicants to assess production over the coming weeks.

William M. Burns, CEO Division Roche Pharma, stated, "These new agreements 
highlight the positive contribution that the Technology Transfer Initiative is 
making to help strengthen and expand local manufacturing capabilities for HIV 
medicines in Africa. Now entering its second year, the initiative reinforces 
Roche's commitment to find long-term, sustainable solutions to help increase 
access to healthcare in the world's poorest countries. With more African 
manufacturers now looking to scale-up production of essential medicines, the 
launch of this initiative in 2006 highlights Roche as an innovative leader in 
supporting sustainable solutions to deliver HIV healthcare where it is needed 

Roche's dedicated team will work onsite at the manufacturing facilities in 
Ethiopia and Zimbabwe and from its headquarters in Switzerland to undertake the 
technology transfers. The companies will be able to produce saquinavir for 
supply throughout Ethiopia and Zimbabwe in addition to any country within 
sub-Saharan Africa or defined as Least Developed by the United Nations, 
encompassing 64% of all people living with HIV/AIDS globally.

Archibald Chimuka, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Varichem Pharmaceuticals, 
Zimbabwe commented "For us the benefits go beyond the production of saquinavir, 
it improves our entire technical and quality systems. We are eager to work with 
Roche on this initiative which helps to meet the needs of our people suffering 
HIV, who simply otherwise would not have access to these badly needed 


About Roche's Technology Transfer Initiative

Announced in January 2006, the Roche Technology Transfer Initiative aims to 
provide local manufacturers with the technical expertise required to produce 
generic HIV medicines. Manufacturers in sub-Saharan Africa and the Least 
Developed Countries wishing to produce generic saquinavir for use in these 
countries will not be required to apply for a voluntary licence, as Roche has 
committed as part of its global policy not to enforce patents on HIV 
antiretroviral medicines within these countries. Interested manufacturers 
should contact the Project Manager, Technology Transfer Initiative at the Roche 
Kenya office.

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, Cete 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, Sudan, 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 - 
across all disease areas - will be filed in the world's Least Developed 
Countries (LDCs), as defined by the UN. Roche will not file patents on new HIV 
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 antretroviral 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.

About Roche

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, metabolism and central nervous system. In 2006 sales by 
the Pharmaceuticals Division totalled 33.3 billion Swiss francs, and the 
Diagnostics Division posted sales of 8.7 billion Swiss francs. Roche employs 
roughly 75,000 worldwide and has R&D agreements and strategic alliances with 
numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and 
Chugai. Additional information about the Roche Group is available on the 
Internet at http://www.roche.com/.

All trademarks used or mentioned in this release are protected by law.

Additional information
Roche & HIV/AIDS: http://www.roche-hiv.com/
Access to Roche's medicines: http://www.roche.com/sus_med.htm

Baschi D'rr
Katja Prowald (Head of R&D Communications)
Martina Rup
Claudia Schmit

[1] WHO treatment guidelines for resource limited settings: 

Contact: Michelle Sykes


Leela McCullough, Ed.D.
Director of Information Services

AED-SATELLIFE Center for Health Information and Technology
30 California Street, Watertown, MA 02472, USA
Tel: +617-926-9400    Fax: +617-926-1212
Email: lmccullough@aed.org
Web: http://www.healthnet.org

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