Product Development Partnerships (PDPs)

Product Development Partnerships (PDPs) are international, non-for-profit organisations. They develop products, including vaccines, drugs and diagnostics for neglected and poverty-related diseases and make them available at affordable costs.

Research and development for new medicinal products, such as drugs, vaccines and diagnostics are time-consuming, costly and risky for companies. Many of the required products are most needed in low- and middle-income countries, but selling them to local beneficiaries is difficult and economically less attractive for commercial developers. This situation has led to severe gaps and restrictions in the global health innovation pipeline.

BMBF supports innovative research instruments

One major element of the funding concept for global health of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is the support of PDPs. PDPs work in a similar way to drug and vaccine development in the pharmaceutical sector. Yet, PDPs differ from private companies with regard to the funding sources and partners involved. Usually, funding for PDPs comes either from governments or philanthropic donors. In addition, PDPs promote and coordinate the collaboration between partners from the public, private, academic and philanthropic sector. Their product development programmes target diseases which disproportionately affect underserved populations and where commercial incentives are missing.

Filling the gap by sharing the risk

PDPs usually initiate several projects at the same time using a portfolio approach strategy. On the basis of regular evaluations, the funds are reallocated to areas where they are most needed. This ensures continued funding for promising projects, while less promising or unsuccessful projects can be stopped. Publicly financed and frequently with intellectual property rights granted by industrial partners for specific markets, PDPs are able to focus on their mission rather than being concerned with the profitability of the developed products. By distributing the costs and risks among numerous stakeholders, new products can be made available at affordable prices, that are accessible in low- and middle-income countries.

Continuous funding pushes product development

The first PDP funding cycle started 2011. In total four PDPs received more than EUR 26 million. The first funding round focused on the development of products for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of neglected tropical diseases and diseases that primarily affect children in the poorest regions of the world.

The following PDPs were funded in the first funding period (2011 – 2016):

Following a positive external evaluation, the second PDP funding cycle focused on the development of products for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of poverty-related diseases. The six PDPs received about EUR 88 million, plus EUR 75 million for additional COVID-related activities.  

The following PDPs have been funded in the second funding period (2016 – 2022):

The third PDP funding cycle of BMBF focuses on the development of countermeasures for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of poverty-related and neglected diseases (PRNDs). Five PDPs are awarded with around EUR 50 million.

The following PDPs are funded in the third funding period (2023 – 2028):