GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK.L) will share over 800 of its patents with researchers trying to make new medicines for tropical diseases, including malaria, and HIV/Aids.
The world's second-largest drug manufacturer also said that it will lessen the price of its drugs in poor nations from next week.
GlaxoSmithKline declared the moves on Tuesday during its annual corporate responsibility report, following a promise by Chief Executive Andrew Witty in an address at Harvard in February 2009 to do more to aid the developing world.
The $800 billion-a-year worldwide pharmaceutical business has come under huge pressure in recent years to help seal the gap in access to medicines between rich and poor, mainly in Africa.
That has resulted in top companies providing a range of big discounts for drugs to cure AIDS and other maladies.
The formation of a free patent pool to spark growth of new medicines for tropical diseases takes things a step further, although Glaxo has finished short of offering its patents on drugs for HIV/AIDS, which it does not consider to be ignored.
Thus far, Glaxo is the only big drug company to have made a commitment to pool its intellectual property this way, but Witty wishes others will follow suit.
His company will place over 500 granted patents and around 300 patent applications -- together relating to 80 different therapeutic approaches -- in the new patent pool.
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