BMS to add atazanavir to Patent Pool
On 12 December, the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) announced that Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) have agreed to let atazanavir be produced by generic companies for use in developing countries. 
This is the first MPP agreement for a drug that is currently a WHO-preferred option for second-line therapy.
The agreement from BMS allows for a technology transfer package to sub-licensed generic companies help manufacture atazanavir for use in 100 countries. The press statement notes that: “While royalties are not applicable in the vast majority of the countries and are waived for all paediatric products, any royalties that are collected under this license agreement will be reinvested in local HIV/AIDS groups in those countries.”
The MPP works by creating a pool of relevant patents for licensing to generic manufacturers and other producers. This facilitating generic competition to brings down prices and can help stimulate innovation, especially for simplified fixed-dose combinations and better formulations for children.
Other companies who have joined this collaborative programme include Gilead Sciences, ViiV Healthcare and Roche (for valganciclovir). Notable companies that so far withheld their drugs include Abbvie (Abbott), Janssen (J&J) and Merck (MSD). 
- Medicine’s Patent Pool. Press Statement. MPP and Bristol-Myers Squibb Sign Agreement to Further Expand Access to a Key HIV Medicine. (12 December 2013).
- MPP website. Licences in the pool.