Roche Adds Drug for CMV Retinitis to Patent Pool, Cutting Price

August 06, 2013

LONDON (Reuters) - Roche is to slash the price and pool intellectual property rights on a drug to treat cytomegalovirus retinitis.

The move is a further victory for the new Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), which is trying to convince major drugmakers to share rights to important medicines for the developing world with makers of cheap generic drugs.

The agreement will make Roche's oral drug valganciclovir for cytomegalovirus, or CMV, up to 90% cheaper in 138 developing countries.

The Swiss drugmaker will also enter into licensing and technology transfer negotiations to encourage the development of cheap generic versions of valganciclovir.

Currently, the most widely used treatment for CMV in developing countries requires injections directly to the eye, which can be painful and also difficult to administer.

The deal between Roche and the patent pool, announced by the two organizations on Monday, follows earlier agreements covering drugs to treat HIV made by Gilead Sciences and ViiV Healthcare, which is majority-owned by GlaxoSmithKline.

The MPP is a United Nations-backed group that was launched in 2010 by the UNITAID health financing system.

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