August 10, 2020

Expanding access to monoclonal antibody-based products: A global call to action

A roadmap to making monoclonal antibodies, one of the most powerful tools in modern medicine, affordable and available to all.

Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are biologic drugs that have had a transformative effect on the treatment of many cancers and autoimmune diseases over the past several decades. Their potential for treating and preventing infectious and neglected diseases is enormous, and several mAbs targeting infectious diseases are licensed. In fact, more than 70 mAb candidates are currently in development for treatment and prevention of COVID-19, including some of IAVI’s own recently identified SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.

But while 80% of the sales of monoclonal antibodies are in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, 85% of the world’s population live in low- and middle-income countries. This market imbalance represents a huge gap in access, one that is likely to grow as new monoclonal antibodies — including ones being investigated now for potential to treat and prevent COVID-19 and HIV — are poised to enter the market.

That’s why it is critical to act now to address this inequity. Identifying pathways to expand affordable, timely, and sustainable global access to monoclonal antibody-based products can, and should be, a global health priority.

IAVI has teamed with Wellcome, the independent global charitable foundation, to produce a call to action entitled Expanding Access to Monoclonal Antibody-based Products.

The call to action asks global health stakeholders, both public and private, to make four parallel and vital commitments to ensure equitable access to mAbs:

  • Increase awareness that mAbs save lives and need to be more affordable and widely available.
  • Facilitate broader licensure of mAbs across the globe.
  • Invest in and apply new technologies to lower mAb production and development costs.
  • Create new business models to enable innovative market approaches that promote global access.


In the midst of a pandemic, it is imperative for leaders across the globe to stand strong behind the call to action by IAVI and Wellcome to realize a roadmap for global access to innovative antibody-based solutions for COVID-19 and other diseases.

– Eric Goosby, Director, Center for Implementation
Sciences, Global Health Sciences at the University
of California, San Francisco, and IAVI Board Chair


IAVI and Wellcome will launch a series of webinars, virtual meetings, and publications to engage key stakeholders in taking concrete actions to make the recommendations in the report a reality.



  • What monoclonal antibodies are and how they are used to treat different diseases.
  • An analysis of the global monoclonal antibody market, including the barriers to access.
  • A roadmap of the actions that need to be taken to make equitable access a reality.



  • Researchers
  • Global health community
  • Pharmaceutical and biotech companies
  • Funders
  • Regulators
  • Policymakers

Wellcome’s affordable innovations in global health flagship supported IAVI’s work on this call to action.