Under the terms of the agreement, the CSIR will pay the San eight percent of all milestone payments it receives from its licensee, UK-based Phytopharm plc, as well as six percent of all royalties that the CSIR receives once the drug is commercially available. Milestone payments are subject to agreed technical performance targets of P57 during its clinical development over the next three to four years, and royalties are based on sales which are not set to commence before 2008. This benefit-sharing model ensures that the San will receive equitable benefits if the drug is successfully commercialised, and is based on established international benefit-sharing models for the pharmaceutical industry. Factors such as the size of the global anti-obesity market and the percentage of total market that the potential new drug could capture, are typically factors which determine the translation of the royalty percentage into monetary value.
The potential income stream will be deposited into a San Hoodia Benefit Sharing Trust, established by the CSIR and the San. The Trust will be composed as follows: A non-voting observer appointed by the South African Department of Science and Technology or its nominee; a representative appointed by the CSIR (or its nominee), three representatives appointed by the South African San Council, representing the
Khomani, the !Xun and the Khwe; three representatives from other San stakeholders in the southern African region, appointed by the Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA); a representative of WIMSA; a South African professional appointed by the San Council and agreed upon by WIMSA. The Trust has amongst it aims: "... to use income received from the CSIR for general upliftment, development and training of the San Community as approved by the Board of Trustees."
Mr Roger Chennells, attorney representing the South African San Council, says he believes that the deal represents notable recognition and acknowledgement of the importance of the traditional knowledge and heritage of the San peoples.
"This groundbreaking benefit-sharing agreement between a local research council and the San represents enormous potential for future bioprospecting successes based on the San's extensive knowledge of the traditional uses of indigenous plants of the area. We are optimistic that this case will serve as a sound foundation for future collaboration, not only for the San but also for other holders of traditional knowledge," he said.
CSIR Bio/Chemtek Director, Dr Petro Terblanche, says CSIR Bio/Chemtek remains committed to adding value to South Africa's biodiversity and indigenous knowledge through scientific innovation.
Petrus Vaalbooi, Chairperson of the South African San Council, says "We are thankful that the traditional knowledge of our forefathers is acknowledged by this important agreement, and that we are making it known to the world. As San leaders we are determined to protect all aspects of our heritage."
Issued jointly by:
The CSIR .The CSIR is the largest R&D and implementation technology agency in Africa with a track record spanning more than 50 years. Structured around eight distinct business areas, it delivers innovation and technology solutions in support of its clients and stakeholders. Contact +27 12 841 2000.
The South African San Council, an organisation representing the three major groups of San in South Africa, namely the !Xun, the Khwe, and the Khomani. It is the South African chapter of WIMSA (Working Group for Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa), the San organization representing San peoples in Botswana, Namibia, Angola, South Africa, and other southern African countries. The SA San Council was formed in November 2001, and is contactable via the South African San Institute, tel 021 6860795 or 6897732. E-mail: Sasi@iafrica.com