Funding for Neglected Diseases at Their Lowest Level Since 2007

Neglected diseases affect more than 1 billion people around the world. They disproportionately impact the poor causing tremendous suffering, disability and sometimes death. Most are preventable or treatable. Sadly, funding to address these neglected diseases is at its lowest level since 2007.

Increased funding across all sectors is needed to develop new therapeutics and enable people to access the treatments they need. Without this, over 1 billion individuals will suffer needlessly, many of whom are amongst the world’s most vulnerable people.

The annual G-FINDER survey was released last week in Brussels (links below). This Gates-supported project tracks global investments in neglected diseases covering 35 conditions across 142 product areas (drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, microbicides and vector control products, and platform technologies) NIH constitutes 40 percent of global R&D neglected disease spending in the latest survey (including HIV/AIDS)

With the notable exclusion of Ebola R&D, the survey results indicate that R&D spending on neglected disease is at its lowest level since 2007

Following are highlights –

· In 2015, a total of $631m was invested in R&D for Ebola – more than in any neglected disease except for HIV/AIDS (defined as ‘neglected’ in this survey i.e. products targeted to LMICs).

· The USG provided 78% of all public funding for Ebola.

· In contrast to Ebola, funding for neglected disease R&D in 2015 fell to its lowest level since 2007, now $180m below its 2012 peak.

· Increased funding from the EU (up $21m, 20%) made it the second-largest public funder of neglected disease R&D globally in 2015, moving ahead of the UK (down $22m, -18%).

· 2015 was the fourth year in a row that industry has increased its investment in neglected disease R&D – the only sector to have recorded year-on-year growth since the inception of the survey.

· Industry funding was focused on a subset of neglected diseases, with malaria and TB accounting for more than half of all industry investment in neglected disease R&D in 2015.

· Researchers continue to rely upon a small number of large funders, particularly NIH and the Gates Foundation.

· Product Development Partnerships (PDPs) remain reliant on the Gates Foundation