UBC has been a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Re:Search Program for almost two years. The program is run by Seattle-based BIO Ventures Global Health (BVGH). The UILO and NGDI hosted a meeting in February 2014 to make introductions to interested NGDI members and BVGH President, Ms. Jennifer Dent and her Associates: Drs. Roopa Ramamoorthi and Katy Graef. These introductions, along with other contacts that were made previously resulted in four collaborations that are featured in this WIPO Re:Search Partnership Report 2013-2015 (report link).
UBC has shared resources in the categories of Compounds, Expertise and Advice, Reagents, and Technology. The four partnerships are briefly described below.
Drs. Charles Thompson and Santiago Ramon-Garcia of the UBC Centre for Tuberculosis Research (CTBR) are featured on page 17, in their collaboration with Dr. Gerd Pluschke of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute. The work involves the repurposing of an avermectin usually used to treat Tuberculosis and it’s applicability to Buruli Ulcer. This finding was recently published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 9: e0003996 doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003996, 2015.
Dr. Raymond Anderson has partnered with University of Buea’s Dr. Cho-Ngwa to explore the active compounds from natural products in the hope of developing a new treatment for onchocerciasis (see page 19).
Dr. Horatio Bach, an NGDI member is engineering antibodies for Dr. Wai-Hong Tham of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. Using phage display, Dr. Bach is identifying human derived, high-affinity recombinant antibodies against a specific P. vivax protein for her work to block P. vivax proteins from binding to red blood cells, see page 22.
NGDI’s Dr. Hongshen Ma has developed high-throughput assay for measuring Red Blood Cell deformability, and this was first thought to be a great potential diagnostic for malaria. However, a new use of the is process has Dr. Ma working with GlaxoSmithKline to act as a screen for new drugs; page 24 has all the details.
We congratulate all five UBC researchers for their collaborations and contributions to WIPO Re:Search and working to develop interventions for neglected global diseases.