Utrecht Univ., World Health Org. join up on low-cost drugs plan

Utrecht University and the World Health Organization (WHO) have joined forces to work on making affordable patent-free medicines available for developing countries, the university announced on its website today.

"This particular agreement fits perfectly with the social aspirations of our university", Marjan Oudeman, Chairman of the Executive Board of the University of Utrecht, said about the deal with WHO.

The university have set up the Foundation Utrecht Centre of Excellence for Affordable Biotherapeutics (UCAB) to facilitate the development, production and distribution of high quality and affordable medicines. One of its tasks is to transfer technology to private parties that produce the medicines under the auspices of the WHO. UCAB will be located at the Utrecht Science Park.

The first medicine that UCAB will focus on is palivizumab, a drug for a serious respiratory infection that affects premature babies.