Financing research and development (R&D) for neglected tropical disease (NTDs) is a big challenge. The problem? Market failure. Although pharmaceutical companies have the knowledge base and resources to create multi-drug therapies or possible vaccine candidates, the cost/reward benefit is not compelling. To help fill this void, governments and organizations are using alternative market mechanisms to spur R&D development.

Last week I attended the Partnering for Cures conference with our President, Dr. Peter Hotez. Partnering for Cures is put on annually by FasterCures, a Washington, DC based think tank whose mission is to accelerate the medical research pipeline in an effort to get new medical technologies to patients more quickly (hence the name, FasterCures). During the conference, Dr. Hotez gave an Innovator Presentation, in which he highlighted the Sabin Vaccine Institute’s groundbreaking work in Brazil in an effort to generate interest in R&D investment for the project.

Sabin’s work in Innovative Developing Countries (IDCs), such as Brazil, is revolutionary, as these countries have emerging economies yet, suffer from a high burden of NTDs themselves. Sabin’s existing partnerships in the country include longstanding collaborations with two public-sector vaccine manufacturers, FIOCRUZ and Instituto Butantan. In addition, Sabin is one of the few product development partnerships (PDPs) to have received funds from a disease endemic country, with support from the Brazilian Ministry of Health to theHuman Hookworm Vaccine Initiative (HHVI).

In his presentation, Dr. Hotez explained that Sabin has taken an academic discovery and moved it into the product development phase in a NTD endemic country, Brazil. Through this work, Sabin not only bolsters the biotechnology capacity of IDCs but helps to protect their populations and others around the world from NTDs. By building capacity within the country, these institutes are equipped to expand their vaccine development programs into a number of other diseases. Sabin is working to set up similar collaborations with other IDCs, expanding the PDP model it has built into other areas around the world.

Partnering for Cures offers a unique opportunity for non-profit R&D collaborators like Sabin to highlight innovative projects for investment, demonstrating the huge impact key donors can have on accelerating lifesaving research.

Check out Dr. Hotez’s presentation from the Partnering for Cures conference using the link below:

http://www.partneringforcures.org/2011_program/p4cprogram.taf?function=d....