Combating diseases associated with poverty

30 Sep 2004

A report from the Initiative on Public-Private Partnerships for Health, on financing strategies for product development and the potential role of Public-Private Partnerships.

In the mid-1990s, a new group of not-for-profit ventures addressing the development of health products for combating diseases associated with poverty began to emerge. This phenomenon resulted from trends in the late 20th century including awareness of disease burden distribution and pharmaceutical industry economics and the emergence of ‘champions’ for tackling specific health inequities.

To mitigate risks arising from individual project failures, these ventures adopt the pharmaceutical industry approach of developing various candidate products simultaneously and recruit, to varying degrees, industry collaboration in their efforts.Hence, they have become known as ‘public-private partnerships’ (PPPs), although some prefer other descriptive phrases.

About 20 PPPs now exist, some relatively new with small portfolios; others having over six years’ experience and managing sizeable portfolios of more than 25 products.While they have underlying similarities, these ventures also vary, particularly owing to factors arising from their choice of disease target (HIV/AIDS, malaria,tuberculosis or other) and product focus (drugs,vaccines, diagnostics, microbicides or other health product).