WIPO Re:Search-A platform for product-centered cross-sector partnerships for the elimination of schistosomiasis.
Schistosomiasis is an acute and chronic disease that affects over 200 million people worldwide, and with over 700 million people estimated to be at risk of contracting this disease, it is a pressing issue in global health. However, research and development (R&D) to develop new approaches to preventing, diagnosing, and treating schistosomiasis has been relatively limited. Praziquantel, a drug developed in the 1970s, is the only agent used in schistosomiasis mass drug administration (MDA) campaigns, indicating a critical need for a diversified therapeutic pipeline. Further, gaps in the vaccine and diagnostic pipelines demonstrate a need for early-stage innovation in all areas of schistosomiasis product R&D. As a platform for public-private partnerships (PPPs), the WIPO Re:Search consortium engages the private sector in early-stage R&D for neglected diseases by forging mutually beneficial collaborations and facilitating the sharing of intellectual property (IP) assets between the for-profit and academic/non-profit sectors. The Consortium connects people, resources, and ideas to fill gaps in neglected disease product development pipelines by leveraging the strengths of these two sectors. Using WIPO Re:Search as an example, this article highlights the opportunities for the PPP model to play a key role in the elimination of schistosomiasis.