Malaria Vaccine Landscape

(Open Access Landscape)
Chief Author: Shona McDiarmid, PhD LLB
Assisted By: Amy Lubik, PhD Student
Assisted By: Nina Prasolova, PhD
Date Started: 20/January/2008
Last Update: 22/January/2012
Frequency of Updates: Often 7/10
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Background on Malaria

16 May 2012
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Malaria is one of the world’s most deadly diseases, which infects ten percent of the world’s population and kills close to a million people a year, most of whom are children under the age of five. Malaria is currently endemic to 109 countries; ninety percent of malaria-related deaths occur in Africa, where a child dies of malaria every thirty seconds. A list of endemic countries is provided on the site of Roll Back Malaria, a global partnership hosted by the WHO. Up to 40% of total African health care budgets are spent on malaria and the estimated overall cost for African [...]

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Malaria Lifecycle

15 May 2012
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Human malaria is caused by four species of the protozoan parasite Plasmodium. Of these, Plasmodium falciparum accounts for the majority of severe disease incidents and deaths. Malaria is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito, which harbors the sporozoite form of the protozoan in its salivary gland.

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About this Landscape

15 May 2012
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Introduction

Cambia, a not-for-profit international research organization, prepared this draft patent landscape pursuant to a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Cambia’s Chief Patent Counsel, Shona S. McDiarmid, authored the draft landscape in cooperation with Cambia’s software engineering team. Patent-related graphs, links, and other information comes from the Lens. The Lens is being developed by Cambia to provide a comprehensive, open, integrated web resource to enable diverse users to access worldwide patent knowledge for improved decision-support, and to create a sustainable, international public platform for worldwide patent transparency.

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The Need for a Vaccine

15 May 2012
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The first attempts to induce immunity to malaria in humans dates back at least 35 years and yet there is still no licensed vaccine on the market today. Efforts to develop a vaccine were intensified by events in the early 1990s when, despite the past successes in eradicating malaria from more prosperous regions of the world, malaria-related deaths actually increased in Africa. This situation was partly attributable to the lack of concerted vector control and the growing emergence of parasite resistance to chloroquine.[1]

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Landscape Structure

14 May 2012
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Landscape Components

The landscape is divided into major components, which are identified in the main menu bar as follows:

  • Home provides an introduction to the Landscape. This is the “landing page,” with posts concerning malaria vaccines generally.
  • Vaccine candidates for malaria are those identified by WHO Rainbow tables as having reached human testing.  Vaccines are generally made up of combinations of the following components:
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Search Criteria

13 May 2012
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To obtain a broad overview of patent activities in the field of malaria vaccine research and development, a broad search was conducted in the Lens for patent documents having 1) any of the following words in their title, abstract or claims: malaria, plasmodium, falciparum or vivax and 2) the word vaccin* in the full text.

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Patent Trend Over Time

12 May 2012
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The number of published patent documents increased gradually from around 1980 until the late 1990s. From the late 1990s there was a steep increase in the number of patent documents publishing. This increase in patenting activities parallels the development of vaccine candidates moving into clinical trials and potentially closer to market launch.

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Most Prolific Inventors

11 May 2012
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This graph displays the most active inventors according to the search.

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Most Active Applicants

10 May 2012
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This graph displays the most active inventors according to the search. It counts patent families, rather than individual patent documents, to avoid the results merely reflecting the size of the patent families rather than the productivity of the inventors (for example, it counts a patent that was filed in 10 countries as one patent rather than 10). Care should be taken in relying on these figures as one applicant may file patent applications under different entity or subsidiary names, and applicant names may be represented in different ways. Furthermore, the applicants may have subsequently assigned rights in the patent or application to third parties.

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Most-Cited Patents

9 May 2012
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While not a perfect indicator, the number of times subsequent documents cite a given patent is one indication of the relative importance of that patent. Not surprisingly, the most-cited patents from the landscape search tend to be global WIPO (as opposed to national or regional) patents that deal with vaccine technology generally, rather than malaria vaccine technology specifically.

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Scientific Publications

21 March 2012
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While patent documents provide public access to vast amounts of technical information and insight into a particular area of innovation, they form only a small portion of the available knowledge pool. Non-patent publications comprise many different formats and source types, such as scientific articles, scientific conference abstracts, doctoral theses, technical reports, newspaper articles, business information including companies’ annual reports etc.

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