The International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) is a global coalition of PLHIV and community activists working to achieve universal access to optimal HIV, HCV and TB treatment of those in need.
Formed in 2003 by a group of 125 HIV activists from 65 countries at a meeting in Cape Town, ITPC actively advocates for treatment access in eight regions across the globe. ITPC believes that the fight for treatment remains one of the most significant global social justice issues.
The project ‘Use of TRIPS Flexibilities to Increase Affordability of Treatment for HIV, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis C Virus in Middle-income Countries’ aims to address a critical gap in the global HIV response: access in some LMICs and in UMICs to newer, optimized antiretrovirals (ARVs) for preventing and treating HIV. Access to newer medicines that can cure tuberculosis (TB) and hepatitis C virus (HCV), two common, dangerous coinfections, among people living with HIV, is also necessary. Optimized ARVs are essential to reaching global HIV treatment targets, enacting the WHO ‘treat all’ recommendation and addressing the growing threat of resistance to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), which are widely used in first-line treatment. Considering ongoing COVID-19 pandemic ensuring affordability of potential COVID-19 treatments in middle-income countries is important component of global response.
The use of TRIPS flexibilities, as recommended by the UN High Level Panel on Access to Medicines, will be necessary to improve access to optimized ARVs, TB medicines and DAAs in some LMICs and UMICs. The combined use of different flexibilities by multiple partners can act in synergy. Patent oppositions have proven to be an effective strategy to enable cost savings and put more people on treatment.
In order to file new patent oppositions related to pharmaceutical patents/patent applications for COVID-19, HIV, HCV, Tuberculosis in the scope of existing project ITPC consortium scientific team shall need to build strong scientific arguments. To facilitate this process artificial intelligence search engine will be tailored for particular fields of science to search the prior art in a more targeted manner and provide the ITPC scientific team with most appropriate sources of prior art.
Service Provider Scope of Work and Deliverables
ITPC wishes to engage a provider that will conduct prior art search using developed (or specifically tailored existing) artificial intelligence engine for prior art sources search using natural language processing/text analytics technology, and allowing custom datasets search without limitation to particular database unless the database combines several datasets, e.g. patents data, scientific literature data, etc. (hereinafter ‘AI Search Technology’), to support ITPC scientific team, country teams preparing patent oppositions to pharmaceutical patents/patent applications for COVID-19, HIV, HCV, Tuberculosis treatments.
Service Provider shall:
Duration of Service Provision:
· 22 July 2020 to 31st December 2020
Qualification/Eligibility Requirements to Provider:
· Minimum 2 years of experience in providing services of tailoring AI search engines for patent prior art search purposes in pharmaceutical field – to prove that, please submit description of such experience in letter on blank of your organization/legal entity. If such description of experience is indicated in Description of AI Technology Features (see below) – no need to submit separate letter;
· Right to conduct business activity in Republic of South Africa or another country (please provide scan of relevant certificate/excerpt from registry or document confirming proper incorporation to conduct business);
· Previous or ongoing collaboration with NGOs or IGOs or government on access to medicines issues is an advantage – to prove that, please submit description of such experience in letter on blank of your organization/legal entity. If such description of possibility is indicated in Description of AI Technology Features (see below) – no need to submit separate letter.
Requirements to the AI Search Technology:
· AI Search Technology should be using at least several open or paid data sources, including medical scientific literature database (e.g. PubMed) and patent office database (e.g. USPTO, EPO, etc.) or the database that combines several datasets, e.g. patents data, scientific literature data, etc. – to prove that please submit Description of AI Technology Features (please note that there no requirements to format of such Description of AI Technology Features, i.e. it could be in format of separate file, in email, on webpage(s) accessible by the provided by email link(s));
· AI Search Technology should be able to generate list of the more relevant prior art sources to chosen INN patents/patent applications in comparison if search would be conducted in the same data sources without application of the AI Search Technology – please indicate/describe this possibility in the Description of AI Technology Features;
· AI Search Technology should be able to generate list of relevant prior art sources to chosen INN patents/patent applications consisting not only of patent documents, but with scientific literature sources (i.e. articles, scientific book, etc.) – please indicate/describe this possibility in the Description of AI Technology Features.
· Possibility of scalability or re-use of the AI Search Technology for other medicines as a result of works performed under this ToR (i.e. creation of open access AI engine available online for common use to target HIV, HCV and anti-TB medicines with patent oppositions) is an advantage – please describe how it could be implemented/achieved in the Description of AI Technology Features;
Method of Selection
Quality and Cost-Based Selection method shall be used to determine the winner. The following selection criteria with relative weight of criteria showed in percentages shall be used for selection:
Service provider shall be paid in parts to be agreed in the Agreement within 30 days upon delivery of each milestone related invoice according to second deliverable. Upon agreement of service provider and ITPC pre-payment of part of the total budget could be done as shall be defined in the Agreement.
Instructions to Tenderers
Tender proposal validity should be no less than 60 days. By submitting the tender proposal tenderer certifies that in relation to the company no bankruptcy procedure is commenced, no criminal investigation has been currently conducted in relation to professional conduct or business activity, there is no unfulfilled obligations relating to payment of taxes or social contributions.
Before preparing tender proposal Tenderer should acquaint him/herself with the Template of the Agreement that is attached hereto as Annex 1.
Tenderers shall have the right to seek written clarifications on any aspect of the tender documents and receive responses from ITPC in good time before the deadline for submission of tenders, not less than 14 days prior to the deadline.
 Report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines: Promoting innovation and access to health technologies [Online] September 2016 [Cited 2019 August 04] Available from: http://www.unsgaccessmeds.org/final-report/
 In comparison to existing open access prior art search engines, e.g. Google Patents.
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