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COVID-19 R&D tracker

Policy Cures Research has developed this tracker to help funders, policy makers, researchers and others understand the evolving landscape of R&D for COVID-19. The dashboards below track funding commitments for basic research and product development R&D, and the current status and makeup of the pipeline of new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics, allowing users to identify the key financial and scientific contributors to the global fight against COVID-19.

The dashboards are best viewed in full screen mode, using the buttons at the bottom right of the visualisations.

For a detailed explanation of the scope of this tracking effort and some of the important methodological decisions we’ve made, please see the ‘Why is Policy Cures Research doing this?’ and ‘Types of funding announcements included’ sections at the bottom of the page.

All of the funding and pipeline data behind this dashboard has been reviewed and validated, but we are relying on publicly available information in a rapidly evolving situation, and as such we acknowledge that our data will never be completely comprehensive. If you identify any errors or omissions please contact us at info@policycuresresearch.org.

Key takeaways

Click the link below for key takeaways around funding and the product pipeline of at least 938 product candidates:

 

The pipeline of COVID-19 therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostics

This dashboard provides an overview of the global pipeline of potential new vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics currently under investigation for COVID-19. The interactive sunburst on the left is linked to the table below, allowing stratification by product type, technology, target and R&D stage. Use the developer search box on the right to search by organisation.

It is important to note that our tracking approach is to count only unique candidates and combinations; while it’s useful to understand how many organisations are investigating hydroxychloroquine, the fact that the same drug is being investigated in multiple trials shouldn’t be confused with a diverse R&D pipeline.

 

 

Public, philanthropic & industry funding for COVID-19 R&D

This dashboard provides an overview of global funding commitments for COVID-19 R&D since 1 January 2020. The tree map on the left provides a breakdown of announced funding by product type, and is linked to the table below. Funding can be filtered by funder and/or recipient using the dropdowns on the right, by country (by selecting countries on the map), or by product.

In addition to funding which is provided directly to product developers by funders (the ‘Primary funding’ checkbox on the right), it is also possible to analyse funding to intermediaries (such as CEPI) and the onward funding provided by intermediaries to product developers, using the relevant checkboxes. Since funding to intermediaries and onward funding represent different parts of the same funding flow, showing both simultaneously would result in double counting and is therefore discouraged.

The full text of the funding announcements set out in the table can be accessed via the links in the ‘Announcement text’ column.

 

Policy Cures Research is working on how to display funding for activities outside our traditional R&D scope. In some cases, funding announcements cover large purchase commitments and manufacturing scale-up costs on top of funding to support late-stage clinical trials. For this reason, we have removed BARDA’s $1.2 billion contract with AstraZeneca, which was initially included in our 25 June update but has since been removed. We aim to eventually include this BARDA contract, along with further data, separately on our dashboard to provide context on the additional activities that are vital in getting products to the end-users during a pandemic.
The totals above also do not include all of the €7.4 billion pledged by world leaders as part of the European Commission-coordinated Coronavirus Global Response fundraising event on 4 May 2020. Some of the funding in these pledges had already been captured in the tracker, and some is outside its scope (such as for procurement and distribution of newly-developed tools). Pledged funding that was clearly additional and in scope has been included in our 5 May update, and all pledges will be evaluated for inclusion as more details are made available. (More…)

Government pledges to the Global Response fund include: Norway ($1.22 billion); the EC (€1 billion); Japan ($834m); Germany (€525m); France (€500m); Canada (CAD 850m); the UK (£388m); Saudi Arabia ($500m); Switzerland (€378m); Spain (€250m); Australia (AUD 352m); the Netherlands (€192m); and Italy (€100m).On a similar basis, we have not included the total value of the two US government coronavirus emergency supplemental appropriations packages, even where the appropriations are for US government agencies primarily focused on biomedical research and development, but have instead included this funding once commitments have been made by the relevant agencies.

The first supplemental appropriation for COVID-19 included: $836 million for the NIAID; $1.9 billion for the CDC (with an additional $300 million earmarked for disease detection and emergency response); $2 billion for the BARDA Emergency Fund; and $61 million for the FDA. The second supplemental appropriation included: $415 million for the DoD Defense Health Program; $945.5 million for the NIH; $75 million for the NSF; $80 million for the FDA; $3.5 billion for BARDA for manufacturing, production, and purchase of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics; and $1.3 billion the CDC.

 

Funding flows

Why is Policy Cures Research doing this?


This tracker, created in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, is a natural evolution from the core work of Policy Cures Research: the G-FINDER project, which provides retrospective annual summaries of R&D funding for neglected disease R&D via G-FINDER reports; and our R&D pipeline tracker, which contains a comprehensive list of product and technology candidates in the development pipeline that target neglected diseases.By gathering data on funding promises, we will eventually be able to measure the extent to which commitments led to funding and, hopefully, to successful tools. This kind of accelerated reporting means that the data we display differ in important ways from the values included in the annual G-FINDER reports and in our G-FINDER data portal:

  • the COVID-19 dashboard draws on press releases and media reports, rather than survey responses from funders and recipients;
  • self-funded investment from private pharmaceutical companies – which we solicit as part of our annual survey and report anonymously in the G-FINDER report and data portal – are not captured unless they are reported to the media;
  • reported amounts are total announced funding commitments, not actual annual disbursements given and received; and
  • figures are quoted based on the US dollar (USD) value of the commitment as on the day it was made, rather than standardised current-year USD based on average annual exchange rates.

We believe that these are acceptable compromises in order to provide users with actionable data now, rather than after the pandemic has been defeated, but remain committed to the G-FINDER methodology as the best tool for the long-term monitoring of R&D funding.

Funding to support the development of this tracker was provided by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security.

Types of funding announcements included


The figures quoted in this dashboard include only basic research and development for vaccines, drugs, diagnostics and devices designed to combat COVID-19 as described in the G-FINDER emerging infectious disease scope document, and exclude, as far as possible, funding which is for the manufacture and delivery of products rather than their development.Responding to a pandemic on the scale of COVID-19 calls for a broad range of responses. While we recognise the vital importance of funding for health system support, personal protective equipment, and pharmaceutical production, these forms of funding are not captured by our dashboard. In-kind funding, such as donations of drugs and personal protective equipment is also excluded, as is the portion of the Gates Foundation COVID-19 funding devoted to expanding vaccine manufacturing capacity.

Only funding since 1 January 2020 has been included.

Pandemic preparation - past investments in R&D

Prior to the emergence of COVID-19, a number of bodies tried to prepare for future pandemics by funding research into as-yet-unknown pathogensThe Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) was launched in 2017 as part of a coordinated, international plan to develop and deploy new vaccines to prevent future epidemics. CEPI received nearly $430m – measured in 2019 US dollars – from a range of government and philanthropic funders between its inception and the end of 2019, and made initial disbursements worth $35m, split across three priority pathogens, over the course of 2018. Prior to the emergence of COVID-19, the major funders of CEPI were the governments of Norway (with more than $110m in total funding between 2017 and 2019), Germany ($87m), Japan ($63m) and the United Kingdom ($27m ); alongside philanthropic contributions from the Gates Foundation (totalling over $63m) and the Wellcome Trust ($22m).

Alongside CEPI’s funding for identified priority pathogens, a key element of global preparations for potential future epidemics involves cross-cutting R&D focusing on what the World Health Organisation has labelled ‘disease X’ – pathogens ‘currently unknown to cause human disease’ that could nonetheless cause a future serious international epidemic. The WHO includes disease X in the list of ‘priority diseases’ in its Research and Development Blueprint for Action to Prevent Epidemics, recognising the importance of ‘early cross-cutting R&D preparedness’ in the face of potential future epidemics.

Disease X funding made up a substantial share of overall emerging infectious disease funding in the three years to 2018 for which we have data. Funders of emerging infectious disease R&D invested a total of $268m in R&D targeting multiple or unidentified pathogens over these years. While much of this funding was aimed at multiple existing diseases – including $62m to multi-disease vector control heavily focused on the Aedes aegypti mosquito – a significant proportion went towards pathogen-agnostic technologies like broad spectrum antivirals ($16m), fundamental pathogen research ($33m) and the platform technologies ($55m) which can be used as the basis for a range of disease-specific responses .

CEPI itself had confirmed three R&D partnership agreements to advance rapid-response vaccine platforms against multiple diseases and unknown pathogens prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. These involved funding commitments (disbursal data is currently unavailable) of $11m to the University of Queensland for R&D of a ‘molecular clamp’ vaccine platform; $8.4m to Imperial College London for a self-amplifying RNA vaccine platform; and $34m to CureVac for the RNA Printer – a mRNA vaccine platform.

These partnerships now form part of the basis for CEPI’s response to COVID-19, with increased funding from CEPI allowing developers to tailor their platforms to create COVID-specific vaccines.