More Innovative Financial Models Needed For Vaccine, Drug Development

Fortune: Urgently Needed: A New Financial Model for Vaccine Development
Clifton Leaf, deputy editor of Fortune

“…While there’s, sadly, an enormous ready market for an HIV vaccine, and therefore an incentive for drugmakers to pursue decades worth of investment here, there are scores of infectious diseases for which there is no good pharma ‘business model’ to develop a treatment or vaccine. Earlier this month, [Andrew Witty, the CEO of GSK,] Seth Berkley — chief executive officer of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance — and I talked about this very real problem at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health meeting. … One solution that both Berkley and Witty embraced is the notion of ‘market shaping’ through the mechanism of an ‘advanced market commitment,’ which was used to develop a pneumococcal vaccine tailored for viral strains in sub-Saharan Africa — a region where children die of pneumonia in staggering numbers. … Within a year of its development, the pneumococcal vaccine had entered its first developing nation, Berkley says. Five years later it’s in 54 countries. Vaccine development is not a charity, he says. So we have to ask ourselves, ‘What are the incentives in place to get the best technologies, the best companies — not just large companies, but biotech companies, academic institutions — to be prepared to step in and bring science and technology to solve these problems?’…” (11/28).