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  • Writer's pictureCassandra L. Wilkinson

The Winners of the 2013 Patents for Humanity Program

We previously described the Patents for Humanity Pilot Program in December 2012. The winners of the Patents for Humanity Program were announced on April 11, 2013. Some of the winners are companies that most of us are familiar with.
The Patents for Humanity Program recognizes businesses whose inventions address humanitarian needs in four categories: medical technology, food and nutrition, clean technology, and information technology. Applicants selected from two judging categories: (1) humanitarian use, which included technology that impacts a humanitarian issue and targets an impoverished population affected by the humanitarian issue and showing that the applicants’ actions have significantly increased application of the technology benefitting the impoverished population addressed by the humanitarian issue; or (2) humanitarian research, which included patented technologies made available to others for conducting research on a targeted humanitarian issue; the research by others occurring in an area lacking significant commercial application; and that significant action has been taken to make the technology available for research by others.
The Patents for Humanity winners and their winning technology:
Medical Technology – subcategory Medicines and Vaccines
Gilead Sciences: for using generic manufacturers in Asia and Africa to make HIV drugs available to the world’s poor.
University of California, Berkeley: providing a lower-cost, more reliable way to produce anti-malarial compounds by developing research and license agreements.
Honorable Mentions
Novaritis: a new drug combination for treatment of malaria in malaria-endemic countries.
Anacor Pharmaceuticals: research and licensing a new drug candidate for treatment of African sleeping sickness.
Medical Technology – subcategory Diagnostics & Devices
SIGN Fracture Care International: distributing low-cost fracture implants to speed healing.
Becton Dickinson (BD): a fast, accurate TB diagnosis machine.
Honorable Mentions
GE Healthcare: affordable manufacturing plants to locally produce vaccines and blood products.
Northwestern University: a quick simple HIV test to screen newborns in Africa.
Food & Nutrition
DuPont Pioneer: an improved strain of sorghum fortified with more protein and vitamins for use in sub-Saharan Africa.
Intermark Partners Strategic Management LLP: extracting edible protein and vitamins from waste rice bran in Latin America.
Clean Tech
Procter & Gamble: a small chemical packet which removes impurities and contaminants from drinking water.
Nokero: delivering solar light bulbs and phone chargers for off-grid villages through local entrepreneurs.
Honorable Mentions
EnterpriseWorks (Relief International): a portable, affordable rainwater collection and storage tank to supply clean drinking water.
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: developing and commercializing a low-cost water treatment plant in India to sterilize water with ultraviolet light.
Info Tech
Sproxil, Inc: a system to identify counterfeit drugs with an ordinary cell phone in sub-Saharan Africa.
Microsoft Corporation: providing machine learning tools that allow health researchers to better analyze large data sets.
More information about these projects can be found at
Congratulations to all of these winners.
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