January 19th, 2021 2:00 PM through  3:30 PM
online event, link will be provided
Event Fee(s)
Guest Price £ 0.00
Member Price £ 0.00
A joint event with SRHE , ICHEM University of Bath and University of West Indies Office of Global Affairs

Universities have been a major source of innovation in responding to the  COVID19 pandemic including the development of  COVID19 vaccines. In the absence of production and distribution capacity, universities have partnered with large pharmaceutical corporations. These partnerships have raised difficult tensions including conflicts in intellectual property rights, licensing and the profit versus the public interest motive. Certain countries and organisations have called for the World Trade Organization  to suspend intellectual property rights related to COVID-19 to ensure that  all communities and countries, and not only the wealthiest, will have access to the vaccines. The  pharmaceutical industry and many high-income countries oppose this move, stating that innovation will be stifled when it is needed most. 


This seminar analyses the tensions that arise between governments, universities and large corporations in the development, production and distribution of vaccines in the context of a global pandemic. It raises major questions on how universities can proactively manage intellectual property rights; and points to alternative ways to develop these relationships in ways that protect and benefit humanity into the future.  


Speakers : Professor Duncan Matthews,(Director, Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute) and Dr Roya Ghafele (Director, OxFirst)  

Respondent : Professor Ammon Salter ( ICHEM and CREI, School of Management, University of Bath)

Chair: Professor Rajani Naidoo   (Director ICHEM and co-ordinator SRHE SW Network)

Moderator: Professor Jurgen Enders  (ICHEM and CGHE)



Co-Hosts Dr  Luz longsworth (Pro Vice-Chancellor, UWI Office of Global Affairs)  Helen Perkins (Director, SRHE) and Francois Smit Dr Lisa Lucas ( University of Bristol and Co-ordinator SRHE SW Network) 



Speaker Abstracts and Bios


Socialised Risk, Privatised Reward: The Story of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine and Alternative Models for Equitable Access

Duncan Matthews

Rapid Covid-19 vaccine development has been underpinned by unprecedented levels of cooperation between universities and biopharma companies, supported by public funding from governments and not-for-profit organisations such as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). The decision of Oxford University to grant an exclusive licence to AstraZeneca for the manufacture and distribution of the AZD1222 vaccine worldwide has proved controversial and raises unanswered questions about equitable access, pricing and transparency. As public scrutiny of Covid-19 vaccines comes ever more sharply into focus, greater attention is being paid to the implications of intellectual property ownership, licensing agreements and the generation of profits and rewards. This presentation examines how public money invested in university-generated vaccine development can balance the exploitation of intellectual property rights with proper public scrutiny and equitable access.


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