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Roche offers help to local manufacturers to produce HIV medicine for sub-Saharan Africa and Least Developed Countries


New Technology Transfer Initiative announced

Basel, 12 January 2006, Today Roche pledged further help to tackle HIV/AIDS in the world’s poorest and hardest hit countries. As part of its new Technology Transfer Initiative, Roche announced that it will expand its current activities within sub-Saharan Africa and the world’s Least Developed Countries by providing local manufacturers with the technical expertise required to produce generic HIV medicines. These countries cover 69% of all people living with HIV/AIDS in the world. The model for the transfer of expertise will be based upon the processes to manufacture the HIV protease inhibitor medicine, saquinavir, recommended by the World Health Organization as a second line treatment in resource limited settings.

William M. Burns, CEO Division Roche Pharmaceuticals, stated, “With international funding now available, Africa will be the world’s biggest user of HIV medicine. We have taken this unique step, which is unlike any initiative undertaken by Roche, to help ensure that the right medicines in the right formulation are available locally. We want to use the knowledge we have developed to help strengthen local manufacturing capability and hope to help as many manufacturers as possible in these hardest hit countries by sharing our knowledge, so that they can learn and benefit from our technology.”

A new Roche team is being established and the full team will be fully operational from the second quarter of 2006. The team will be based in part on the ground in Africa, as much of the knowledge and skill sharing will be undertaken onsite, at the local manufacturer’s production facilities, and in part at the global headquarters in Basel, Switzerland.

With the growing scale up effort resulting in increased access to first line treatment in resource limited settings, such as sub-Saharan Africa, the need and subsequently the demand for second line treatments will continue to grow. As a result, increasing manufacturing knowledge and capacity within these regions could play a vital role in treatment delivery.

About Roche’s Technology Transfer Initiative
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 the patents it holds on HIV medicines within these regions. Interested manufacturers should contact the Project Manager, Technology Transfer Initiative at the Roche Kenya office:

About the countries invited
Interested 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, Côte 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 for the developing world. 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/AIDS medicines in Least Developed Countries or sub-Saharan Africa. Roche will not take action in these countries against the sale or manufacture of generic versions of HIV medicines for which Roche still holds patents. 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 a supplier of innovative 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 a world leader in diagnostics, the leading supplier of drugs for cancer and transplantation and a market leader in virology. Roche employs roughly 65,000 people in 150 countries 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

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