This Reuters story covers new findings from the Global Funding of Innovation for Neglected Diseases (G-FINDER) report. In it, the author's record that overall research funding went up by 8.2 percent to $3.2 B in 2009 but funding to important product development partnerships (PDPs) dropped.
PDPs are collaborations between drugmakers and research groups. These have been successful in the past few years bringing an inexpensive meningitis A vaccine to market and there is another PDP produced tuberculosis vaccine in late stage testing. The authors of the G-FINDER report say other similar projects could deliver many more useful products - compared to other research groups.
Both Jon Pender, of British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, and Joe Cerrell of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which funded the report, said there was a "worrying trend" away from investment in PDPs, just when they need more money to further a potentially promising pipeline. The report said such partnerships currently have around 140 drugs, vaccines and diagnostic tools in development, including a malaria vaccine from GSK which is in late-stage trials.
The potential impact of these products could be enormous in terms of public health in neglected regions. It is not just spending the money - but how it is spent. And, these authors at least favor more, not less spending with PDPs.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Feb 16th 2011.