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G-FINDER 2019 – NEGLECTED DISEASE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT: UNEVEN PROGRESS
POLICY CURES RESEARCH
January 2020 :: 143 pages
Each year since 2007, the G-FINDER project has provided policy-makers, donors, researchers and industry with a comprehensive analysis of global investment into research and development (R&D) of new products to prevent, diagnose, control or cure neglected diseases in developing countries. It provides an up-to-date analysis of how R&D investments are being allocated across diseases and product types, funding trends over time, and where the potential gaps lie.
This is the twelfth annual -FINDER report, providing new data on investments made in financial
year 2018. In all, 262 organisations completed the survey for FY2018, which covered 36 neglected diseases and all relevant product types – drugs, vaccines, biologics, diagnostics, microbicides and vector control products (chemical and biological control agents, and reservoir targeted vaccines) – as well as basic research.
The 2018 survey added three new neglected diseases: hepatitis B, mycetoma and snakebite
envenoming. It also removed the genotype restriction for hepatitis C, although restrictions to ensure that R&D is targeted at LMICs remain, and added vaccine R&D for leprosy. The therapeutic vaccine product category was expanded and relabelled as ‘biologics’, this category captures funding that was previously variously included under therapeutic vaccines, drugs and preventive vaccines.
Global funding for basic research and product development for neglected diseases reached a
new record high of $4,055m in 2018, easily surpassing the previous year’s record. The headline
increase of $374m (up 10%) was partly due to improved reporting. After adjusting for changes in survey scope, participation and reporting, global funding for neglected disease R&D increased by $290m in 2018 (up 7.9%); this was both the largest real annual funding increase on record, and the first time ever that funding has grown for three consecutive years….
Discussion [p. 120, section titles]
:: Global funding for neglected disease R&D reached a new record high in 2018, on the back of
three consecutive years of growth
:: Investment by multinational pharmaceutical companies reached its highest ever level
:: The growth in industry investment contributed to a dramatic increase in funding for clinical
development & post-registration studies
:: Progress remained encouraging outside of the traditional top funders of neglected disease
:: Not everything is trending upwards: funding for NTDs has barely shifted over the last decade
The impact of sustained investment in neglected disease R&D is clear in the growing number of
newly-approved products (the last couple of years alone have seen critically important new drugs for sleeping sickness, onchocerciasis, malaria and TB, and LMIC-targeted vaccines for typhoid, rotavirus, and pneumococcal pneumonia) and in a healthy and growing R&D pipeline.
This impact has been made possible by – and indeed has required – the many positive trends highlighted in this year’s G-FINDER report, including the record-high level of overall funding for neglected disease R&D, increased funding for clinical development & post-registration studies, and increased investment by industry. But the corollary of this success is that more investment will be needed: the R&D pipeline is larger than ever before, with more candidates in late-stage development, and there is still a significant gap between current levels of investment and the level that will be required to translate these candidates into new tools.
We also note that progress is not occurring across the board: not all areas are benefitting from increased funding and record highs, with a decade of stagnant funding for NTDs being one key example. And while funding from some countries is laudable, in others it has been going backwards. Addressing this uneven progress is the challenge ahead.
[See also IFPMA statement below in Announcements]