The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) through KfW has granted funding to five non-profit organizations that focus on research and development (R&D) of affordable and accessible vaccines, treatments, diagnostics, and prevention technologies for neglected populations. Funding for Germany’s 2023-2028 cycle has been awarded to the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), European Vaccine Initiative (EVI), IAVI (International AIDS Vaccine Initiative), Population Council, and TB Alliance.
These organizations will receive a total of EUR 50 million to help advance the R&D for new tools to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis (TB), and other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). This funding for 2023-2028 continues the German government’s ongoing support of product development partnerships (PDPs), which began in 2011.
Operating on a not-for-profit basis, PDPs develop new products for people who suffer from diseases and health threats underserved by traditional markets by building partnerships between the public, private, academic, and philanthropic sectors. Since 2010, PDPs have developed 79 new health technologies, delivering more than 2.4 billion treatments, tests, and other health tools to people around the world who are impacted by HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, malaria, COVID-19, TB, and other neglected tropical diseases.
This latest round of funding underlines BMBF’s vital commitment to global health research through support of innovative and cost-effective R&D models that ensure the availability of new medical tools and progress in neglected research areas.
Find out more about the research activities funded by BMBF through KfW from 2023 – 2028
DNDi is an international non-profit organization developing safe, effective, and affordable treatments for the most neglected patients since its inception 20 years ago.
Thanks to the loyalty of donors like BMBF, DNDi has built the largest drug development pipeline to fill research gaps for very neglected diseases.
With products covering the pipeline from discovery to late development, the new funding of 10 Mio Euro will contribute to helping DNDi achieve the aims of its latest strategic plan (2021-2028) to deliver a total of 25 treatments by 2028 and stand by its commitment to neglected patients around the world. During the grant period (July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2028), DNDi will deliver two new or improved treatments for sleeping sickness and Chagas disease, as well as advance research for new and improved therapies for leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis, dengue, and Chagas disease. The grant will also support discovery work through repurposing or modifying drugs and identifying and developing new entities (NEs) – chemical or biological – for its disease portfolio. Lastly, DNDi will explore potential new disease areas for its portfolio.
EVI is a leading European Product Development Partnership (PDP) based in Heidelberg, Germany, supporting global efforts to develop effective and affordable vaccines against poverty-related diseases and emerging infectious diseases.
The most important target group of EVI’s work is population groups in low- and middle-income countries, which are disproportionately affected by such diseases. Through constructive collaboration with academia, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology companies, policymakers, donors and other PDPs, EVI is building a vaccine portfolio that proactively addresses critical challenges and opportunities, and fosters innovative solutions in vaccine research and development.
The BMBF/KfW-funded projects at EVI aim to support the development of more effective vaccines against malaria that offer longer protection. In particular, the following projects are supported with funds from the BMBF/KfW:
- Further development and clinical testing of merozoite vaccines (“blood stage”) against malaria
- Clinical trials of pre-erythrocytic vaccines against Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum-induced malaria
- Further development and clinical testing of vaccines against pregnancy-associated malaria
- Capacity strengthening of the participating African partner institutions.
IAVI is a non-profit scientific research organization that develops vaccines and antibodies for HIV, tuberculosis, emerging infectious diseases (including COVID-19), and neglected diseases. Our mission is to translate scientific discoveries into affordable, globally accessible public health solutions.
MTBVAC is currently being developed as a more effective and potentially longer-lasting tuberculosis (TB) vaccine for newborns and for the prevention of TB disease in adults and adolescents. Support from BMBF to MTBVAC development, jointly with support from EDCTP, will serve as an important lever to bring additional resources from other funders to this program, and to TB vaccine R&D overall. This BMBF award, managed by KFW, will assist IAVI and partners in their efforts to initiate an efficacy trial in adults and adolescents and to complete the ongoing European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP)-supported Phase III clinical trial of MTBVAC (NCT04975178) in infants that launched in South Africa, Madagascar, and Senegal in late 2022. Through supporting an integrated product development plan, this grant will also help reduce the time to market approval by at least one to two years if the vaccine is found to be safe and effective.
The Population Council
The Population Council’s mission is to generated ideas, produce evidence, and design solutions to improve the lives of underserved populations around the world.
The PDP III award from BMBF will allow the Population Council’s Center for Biomedical Research to continue the development of three HIV-prevention products specifically designed for women: the three-month dapivirine vaginal ring (DVR), three-month dapivirine-levonorgestrel vaginal ring (DPV-LNG VR) for prevention of HIV and unintended pregnancy, and a fast-dissolving insert (FDI) designed to provide protection against HIV, human papilloma virus (HPV), and herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2). Successful implementation of this award is expected to have several important outcomes: 1. Secure African regulatory approvals for the three-month DVR and prepare for market entry; 2. Complete Phase II/III trials of the DPV-LNG VR and prepare and submit dossier for regulatory approval; and 3. Complete Phase I trials of the FDI.
TB Alliance envisions a world where no one dies of tuberculosis (TB). However, this cannot be achieved without improved, faster acting, and affordable TB drug regimens that are available to all who need them.
Our work under the third phase of PDP funding aligns with the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) Global Health strategy by focusing on R&D that will directly lead to products that are person-centered.
Our work under the new round of PDP funding, beginning in July 2023, will focus on pursuing the necessary further breakthroughs in TB therapy to accelerate the reduction of the TB disease burden and its impact on individuals, communities, and health care systems. Over the next five years, we will:
- Advance the development of novel drug regimens toward the long-term goal of a short, universal regimen to improve treatment of drug sensitive (DS) and drug resistant (DR) TB by both developing pretomanid toward widespread use and progressing novel compounds.
- Build the TB discovery and preclinical portfolio strategically to identify promising candidates for shorter and potentially safer regimens by advancing our current discovery and preclinical projects and capitalizing on innovative technologies.
- Expand impact for the patient population for pretomanid and ensure WHO guidance is updated, facilitating successful adoption of enhanced TB regimens.
Photo credit: Ana Ferreira-DNDi