Large rise expected for product development partnerships over the next years

In 2015, Germany provided US$51 million for research and development (R&D) on poverty-related and neglected diseases (PRNDs), referred to as ‘global health R&D’ in this profile. This makes Germany the fifth-largest public funder of R&D for PRNDs in 2015 (in absolute terms). These figures are based on the G-FINDER survey conducted by Policy Cures Research. It includes R&D for all medical products (e.g., drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics). R&D funding that meet the following three criteria is included in the scope: 1) the disease has to disproportionally affect people living in developing countries; 2) there has to be a need for new products; and 3) there are insufficient commercial incentives to attract R&D by private industry.

A major instrument to channel its funding has been the first product development partnership (PDP) call that ran from 2011 to 2015 and provided €26 million or US$29 million for neglected tropical diseases and diseases primarily affecting children in the world’s poorest regions. This investment complemented by the first iteration of the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP 1; 2003-2013), which was focused on HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis (TB), and to which the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) had contributed approximately €10 million (US$11 million). As the ECDTP had focused on HIV/AIDS and TB, these were excluded from the first PDP call. In 2016, BMBF issued a second PDP call for the period 2016-2020. It doubled its funding to €50 million (US$56 million), and R&D for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria can now also be funded by the PDP. In addition, BMBF announced that it will increase its funding for EDCTP’s second phase (2014-2020) to €30 million (US$33 million).

BMBF-funded PDPs 2016-2020:

  • International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) for the development of safe microbicides for women in HIV prevention
  • PATH for the development of malaria vaccines
  • Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) for more effective and affordable drugs for tuberculosis
  • Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) for the development of new malaria drugs
  • Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) for drug development against African trypanosomiasis, Visceral Leishmaniosis, Chagas disease and worm infections

In 2015, Germany’s funding focused on tuberculosis (US$10 million, or 19% of its total global health R&D funding), malaria (US$9 million, 16%), HIV/AIDS (US$6 million, 10%), and kinetoplastids (US$5 million, 9%). Germany placed a major focus on basic research: almost half of its global health R&D funding in 2015 was allocated to this area (US$20 million or 37%). Global health R&D was also a topic at the G7 summit under the German Presidency in 2015, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was highlighted as a priority in the Annex to the G7’s official declaration. It will also feature prominently during Germany's G20 presidency in 2017.


Three ministries provide funding for global health R&D

Political responsibility for global health R&D lies with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Its funding concept for global health R&D has four pillars: 1) Germany’s national research landscape, 2) support to PDPs, 3) support to EDCTP, and 4) strengthening African health research systems and increasing research cooperation with countries in sub-Saharan Africa. BMBF provides nearly half of Germany’s total global health R&D funding (45% or US$25 million in 2015).

The Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) represents Germany at the World Health Organization (WHO). It supports global health R&D through funding to German academic research institutions. In total, its funding amounted to US$15 million, or 28% of German global health R&D in 2015. In addition, Health Minister Gröhe announced Germany’s AMR Strategy in May 2015:DART2020 – Fighting antibiotic resistance for the good of both humans and animals’, in cooperation with the BMBF and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). DART2020 defines Germany’s strategic goals and corresponding actions in combatting AMR nationally and internationally.

Government-funded research institutions play a significant role in Germany’s global health R&D landscape. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is by far the most important funder: in 2015, it provided 26% (US$14 million) of Germany’s funding for global health R&D. The DFG is an association of public research organizations and receives funding from the federal government and federal states. Key research institutions that conduct health R&D include the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, the Robert Koch Institute, and the Max Planck Society.