Product Development Partnerships (PDPs) are international, non-for-profit organisations. They develop vaccines, drugs and diagnostics for neglected and poverty-related diseases and make them available at affordable costs.
Research and development for new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics is time-consuming, costly and risky. Product development for diseases that disproportionately affect people living in low and middle income countries is unattractive for the pharmaceutical sector because an effective market is absent and therefore financial incentives are lacking. In the past, this has led to 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 product development partnerships (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 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 successful 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 sold at affordable prices. Thus, equitable access can be guaranteed.
Continuous funding pushes product development
The first PDP funding cycle started 2011. In total four PDPs received more than €26 million. The first funding round focussed 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 round focussed on the development of products for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of poverty-related diseases. Currently, six PDPs receive around €54 million.
The following PDPs are being funded in the second funding period (2016 – 2021):