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Policy Cures Research news

April 2017: World Malaria Day

On World Malaria Day, 25 April 2017, Policy Cures Research highlights the vital need for investment in malaria R&D to deliver new drugs, diagnostics, vaccines and vector control products.

Malaria is a parasitic disease transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The two most common types of malaria are caused by Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Left untreated, malaria can cause severe illness and death, with children and pregnant women being the most vulnerable (70% of malaria deaths are children under five years of age) (World Malaria Report, 2016). Despite progress in reduced cases over the past decades, malaria continues to have a devastating impact. Malaria caused more than 56 million disability adjusted life years (DALYs) and at least 730,290 deaths in low- and middle-income countries in 2015 (IHME, 2016).

New malaria drugs and vector control products are needed in response to the emergence of resistance to artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACT) and pyrethroids. Cheap, sensitive and specific rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are available, but their quality and heat stability can be problematic. The 9th annual G-FINDER report, launched February 2017, showed that malaria received $565m in R&D funding in 2015. Nearly two-thirds of all malaria R&D funding went to developing new drugs ($238m, 42%) or vaccines ($128m, 23%), with a further quarter ($128m, 23%) going to basic research. Vector control products ($32m, 5.7%) and diagnostics ($15m, 2.6%) received significantly smaller investments.

Funding for malaria R&D

Figure i: Malaria R&D funding 2007 – 2015 Source: 9th G-FINDER Report, Policy Cures Research, p. 28

About: G-FINDER is the most comprehensive source of data on global funding for neglected disease R&D. For more information and analysis on financing trends in neglected diseases such as TB, leprosy and trachoma, see the full 2016 G-FINDER report. For more information on promising new candidates currently in development for neglected diseases including malaria, see the Policy Cures Research pipeline.

 


April 2017: R&D for Chagas’ disease

On World Chagas Day, 14th April 2017, Policy Cures Research highlights the pressing need for R&D funding to deliver new drugs, diagnostics and vaccines for Chagas’ disease.

First described by Carlos Justiniano Ribeiro Chagas in 1909, Chagas’ disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, is a kinetoplastid caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi (or T. cruzi).

Chagas’ disease is primarily transmitted by the blood-sucking triatomine bug species, but can also be transmitted from mother to child and through blood and organ transfusions. In 2015, Chagas’ disease caused an estimated 8,047 deaths globally, disproportionately affecting people in developing countries. An estimated 236,131 Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) were attributed to Chagas’ disease in 2015, the vast majority of which were also in developing countries.

Chagas needs preventive and therapeutic vaccines; safe, effective drugs that are suitable for children; treatments for the chronic form of the disease; and diagnostics that can reliably detect chronic disease and monitor treatment in low resource settings. The two drugs currently used (benznidazole and nifurtimox) are toxic, lack specificity and require multiple dosing for several months, increasing the likelihood of non-compliance and drug resistance. A childhood benznidazole formulation was registered in Brazil in 2011, and the only drug in clinical development is an azole/benznidazole combination for chronic Chagas’ disease. The latest G-FINDER report launched by Policy Cures Research, found that $18m was invested into Chagas’ disease research and development globally in 2015. Investments included $8.2m for drugs, $7.2m for basic research, 1.2m for vaccines and $1.2m for diagnostics.

Funding for Chagas' disease in R&D

Figure i: Chagas’ disease R&D funding by product type 2015 Source: 9th G-FINDER Report, Policy Cures Research, p. 35

About: G-FINDER is the most comprehensive source of data on global funding for neglected disease R&D. For more information and analysis on financing trends in neglected diseases such as TB, leprosy and trachoma, see the full 2016 G-FINDER report. For more information on promising new candidates currently in development for neglected diseases including Chagas’ disease, see the Policy Cures Research pipeline.

 


March 2017: R&D crucial in the fight against TB

On World TB Day, 24 March 2017, Policy Cures Research highlights the critical need for R&D funding to deliver new drugs, diagnostics and vaccines for tuberculosis (TB).

In 2015, TB was responsible for more than 1.1 million deaths globally. But with just 1% of these deaths occurring in high-income countries, global investment in TB R&D remains woefully inadequate. Just two new TB drugs have been developed in the last 50 years; current drug regimens are complex, often ineffective, and can require up to 2 years of treatment, fuelling drug resistance and treatment failure. New and affordable diagnostics are also urgently needed. The World Health Organization reports “more than a third (4.3 million) of people with TB go undiagnosed or unreported”. The current vaccine – now nearly a century old – offers little or no protection against TB in adults.

The good news is that the pipeline of promising new drug, diagnostic and vaccine candidates has flourished over the last decade and a half. But increased global investment in TB R&D is vital to translate this promise into reality. The 9th annual G-FINDER report, launched in Brussels in February 2017, found that $567m was invested in TB R&D globally in 2015. Almost half of this investment went to drug development ($263m, 46%), followed by basic research ($135m, 24%), preventive vaccines ($98m, 17%) and diagnostics ($42m, 7.4%).

Funding for TB 2007 - 2015

Figure i: TB R&D funding by product type 2007-2015 Source: 9th G-FINDER Report, Policy Cures Research p.25

About: G-FINDER is the most comprehensive source of data on global funding for neglected disease R&D. For more information and analysis on financing trends in neglected diseases such as TB, leprosy and trachoma, see the full 2016 G-FINDER report. For more information on promising new candidates currently in development for neglected diseases including TB, see the Policy Cures Research pipeline.

 


 

February 2017: Neglected Disease Research and Development 9th G-FINDER Report Launched

Dr Nick Chapman at launch of G-FINDER Report image courtesy of Friends of Europe

On 16 February 2017 Policy Cures Research launched the latest G-FINDER Report in Brussels at the “Shaping the World: A Pivotal Moment in Research and Innovation for Global Health” event, hosted by Friends of Europe.

G-FINDER is the most comprehensive report on public and private funding into research and development (R&D) for neglected diseases such as malaria, TB, pneumonia, sleeping sickness and leprosy. This year’s G-FINDER report showed that global funding for neglected disease R&D approached historic lows in 2015, driven by declining public sector investment, particularly from the US.

Speaking on the panel, Bill Gates encouraged more investment in neglected disease R&D, pointing out that investing in new tools is the only way we will be able to beat these diseases. Carlos Moedas, the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation said “we must act, not react” in terms of global health investment in neglected diseases.

On a more positive note, Dr Nick Chapman, Executive Director of Policy Cures Research, noted that – in sharp contrast to the public sector – industry investment in neglected disease R&D reached historical highs in 2015 “this was the fourth year in a row that industry has increased its investment in neglected disease R&D – the only sector to have recorded year-on-year growth for such a stretch.”

This ninth report in the G-FINDER series looks at 2015 global investment for R&D into new products for neglected diseases. The survey data covers 39 diseases (including Ebola and other African viral haemorrhagic fevers, which have been analysed separately), 151 product areas for these diseases, including drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, microbicides, vector control products and platform technologies.

Contact: Dr Nick Chapman, Executive Director, Policy Cures Research +61 2 8218 2109 info@policycuresresearch.org

Publication: G-FINDER 2016

Podcast:

    Selected coverage: Science Business | Nature | FIND

     


    September 2016: Policy Cures Research becomes a separate organisation

     

    Policy Cures Research logo

    On 1 September 2016, Policy Cures divided into two independent organisations, with the research and policy team moving across to a new not-for-profit company, Policy Cures Research.

    Headed by Dr Nick Chapman, Policy Cures Research will continue to do the same high-quality, rigorous, and independent analysis it has done for the last six years as part of Policy Cures, including managing the G-FINDER project to track global investment in neglected disease research and development.

    The advocacy team will remain with Policy Cures, led by Dr Mary Moran, and will focus on advocating for improved funding for neglected disease R&D, with an emphasis on Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

     


    Policy Cures news

    ND pipeline snapshot

    February 2016: A comprehensive picture of the global R&D pipeline for neglected diseases is now available online

    We are pleased to announce the publication of the first comprehensive picture of the neglected disease R&D pipeline since 2012. This online resource is the result of in-depth research and consultation conducted in late 2015, and provides a snapshot of the global neglected disease product pipeline as at October 2015.

    By providing an overview of the current landscape of neglected disease R&D activity, including which candidates are in the pipeline and at what stage, who is involved in their development, and where the gaps are, we hope to provide funders, product developers, policy makers and others in the global health community with the information they need for informed decision-making and analysis.

    You can view the full neglected disease R&D pipeline by clicking on the thumbnail above, or by following the link here.

     


     

    G-FINDER

    December 2015: Eighth annual G-FINDER survey report released

    A new report gives the first ever picture of global investment in Ebola R&D, reporting that this investment might have come at the expense of efforts to develop drugs, vaccines and diagnostics for other neglected diseases, which collectively cause more than six million deaths every year in developing countries.

    The eighth annual G-FINDER report, released today, found that $3.4bn was invested in neglected disease R&D in 2014. It also found that new funding for Ebola R&D mobilised in response to the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak was entirely responsible for the $150m increase in neglected disease R&D funding in 2014, with funding for all other neglected diseases essentially unchanged (down $14m, or 0.4%).

    The report found that a total of $165m was invested in Ebola R&D in 2014, more than for any other neglected disease except HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis (TB) and diarrhoeal diseases. Most of this funding came from the US Government, whose $101m contribution represented 86% of all public funding for Ebola R&D in 2014… more

     


     

    G-FINDER Reproductive Health

    February 2015: Launch of Reproductive Health: R&D for the developing world

    A new report launched today shows that global investment into reproductive health products targeted at the developing world was just under US$88m in 2013. The report, Reproductive Health: R&D for the developing world, released by Policy Cures, is the first study of its kind to provide a comprehensive picture of global funding patterns for R&D into reproductive health products in developing countries.

    The report, based on a global survey of funding, covers R&D for contraceptives, Multipurpose Prevention Technologies, post-partum haemorrhage, sexually transmitted infections and platform technologies. The majority of funding, $63m, was directed towards R&D for contraceptive products, mostly from US drug companies. All other areas received less than $10m each. No funding was reported for several areas where there was an identified need, including drugs for syphilis and ultra-short acting contraceptive drugs… more

     


     

    G-FINDER

    December 2014: Seventh annual G-FINDER survey report released

    Following claims that US funding cuts have delayed an Ebola vaccine, a new report confirms that the 2013 US budget sequester and pull-outs from the pharmaceutical industry are harming funding to develop drugs and vaccines for other neglected diseases, including tuberculosis (TB), malaria and AIDS.

    The seventh annual G-FINDER report, released today, showed that $3.2bn was invested in neglected disease R&D in 2013 – a cut of $193m on the previous year. The US budget sequester was almost entirely responsible for this decrease, with the world’s largest funder, the US National Institutes of Health (US NIH), making a sequester-related cut of $188m (-13%).

    “A drop of this size has to be a concern,” said report author Dr Mary Moran, Executive Director of Policy Cures. “Last year the US was fundamental in sustaining global investment levels amidst cuts from other non-US government funders, but we’re simply not seeing that for 2013.”… more

     


     

    G-FINDER

    December 2013: Sixth annual G-FINDER report finds a public pull-out puts lives at risk

    The sixth annual G-FINDER survey reports both good and bad news on global investment into research and development (R&D) for new neglected disease products. The good news is that global funding for neglected disease R&D totalled US $3.2 billion in 2012, thanks to an increase in funding from repeat survey participants of $92.1m (up 3.2%) over 2011 levels – a positive change as global investment in neglected disease R&D had been declining since 2009.

    But in 2012, non-US government funding fell by $52.6m (down 12.4%), with 11 governments cutting or freezing funding. Since the global financial crisis, total investment from this group has fallen by 20% ($90.6m)…. more

     


     

    G-FINDER 2012

    December 2012: Fifth Annual G-FINDER Survey Report Released

    A 5-year review of global neglected disease research & development (R&D) funding shows that, despite increased investment of almost half a billion dollars ($443.7 million) between 2007 and 2011, changing investment patterns – especially from hard-pressed governments – may mean this funding is not always working in favour of development of drugs, vaccines and diagnostics for the world’s poor… more

     


     

    DSW Report

    September 2012: New report highlights the benefits of European investment into Global Health Research and Development, both in and outside the European Union

    On September 26th, the German not-for-profit organisation, DSW, launched a specially commissioned report titled, ‘Saving Lives and Creating Impact: EU investment in poverty-related and neglected diseases’. The launch included a breakfast debate and was hosted by Maria da Graça Carvalho, a Member of the European Parliament…read more

     


     

    GHTC Report

    April 2012: New GHTC report finds that the US Government is the largest funder of global health R&D worldwide

    A report commissioned by the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) finds that the United States government is the largest funder of global health research and development (R&D) in the world, investing $12.7 billion over the past 10 years in the creation of new vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, and other products for neglected diseases of the developing world. That funding, according to the report, helped lead to the development of more than half of the 45 new health products in the last decade that have been used to save lives around the world…read more

     


     

    G-FINDER Report 2011

    December 2011: Fourth annual G-FINDER survey report released

    A fresh round of funding cuts from rich nations in the wake of the global financial crisis threaten the development of a new generation of lifesaving medicines and vaccines just as they are on the verge of reaching patients in the developing world. Public funding from the world’s richest nations for research and development (R&D) of new neglected disease products fell by US$125m (down 6%) in 2010, according to new data published in the fourth annual G-FINDER report. Diseases like HIV that rely heavily on public funding have been hit the hardest, with a US$70m cut in HIV R&D funding alone… read more

    Read the G-FINDER highlights 2011

    G-FINDER highlights 2011 are also available in French, Spanish, and German.

    G-FINDER 2011 media release Australia

    View the G-FINDER 2011 launch presentation.

     

    What partners are saying about G-FINDER:

    “Over the years G-finder has made itself the most relevant tool to acknowledge improvement on innovation. From the perspective of an Institute devoted to Global Health, G-Finder has become a daily tool of reference. Today, however, when economic resources from rich countries are scarce, it becomes not only a reference on innovation, but also a very useful guide for donors and governments to see that the good science to bridge the gap is working, and change is possible.”

    – Rafael Vilasanjuan, Director, Think Tank, Barcelona Institute for Global Health, IS Global – Barcelona

    Read more

     

     


     

    Malaria Report

    June 2011: The report, “Staying the Course? Malaria Research and Development in a Time of Economic Uncertainty” released

    A new analysis of progress in the global fight against malaria finds a five-fold increase in annual funding for malaria research and development (R&D) in just 16 years—increasing from US$121 million in 1993 to US$612 million in 2009, with a particularly rapid increase since 2004. The funding has generated the strongest pipeline of malaria control and prevention products in history.

    The report warns, however, that even a small decline in annual funding could jeopardize this pipeline, derail development of needed products, and paradoxically also increase development costs later… read more

     

    Read the Executive Summary

     


     

    G-FINDER Report 2010

    February 2011: Third annual G-FINDER survey report released

    The third annual G-FINDER survey reports both good and bad news on global investment into new neglected disease products for the developing world. Global funding for research and development (R&D) of new neglected disease products increased to US$3.2 billion in 2009 (up nearly a quarter of a billion dollars on 2008) and funding was spread more evenly across the 31 neglected diseases covered by G-FINDER. But funders moved their focus away from development of badly-needed new products towards traditional basic research… read more

    Read the full G-FINDER report 2010 or view G-FINDER highlights 2010

    G-FINDER media release Australia

    G-FINDER launch presentation 2010

     

    G-FINDER launch presentation 2010 podcast:

     

    G-FINDER launch 2010, selected press coverage: