Large rise expected for product development partnerships over the next years

In 2016, Germany provided US$43 million for research and development (R&D) on poverty-related and neglected diseases (PRNDs), according to G-FINDER data, referred to as ‘global health R&D’ in this profile. This makes Germany the sixth-largest public funder of R&D for PRNDs in 2016 (in absolute terms). Health R&D and PRNDs are highlighted as a priority in Germany’s 2017-2021 coalition treaty.

A major instrument to channel Germany’s funding is the current product development partnership (PDP) call, which runs from 2016 to 2020. For this call, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has contributed €50 million (US$55 million), a doubling of the call that ran from 2011 to 2015. The current PDP supports R&D on neglected tropical diseases and diseases primarily affecting children in the world’s poorest regions, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. In addition, the BMBF has increased its funding to the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), from €10 million (US$11 million) for 2003-2013 to €30 million (US$33 million) for 2014-2020. Recent EDCTP funding was focused on HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.

In 2016, Germany’s funding focused on TB, malaria, and HIV/AIDS.

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 2016, Germany’s funding focused on tuberculosis (US$15 million, or 33% of its total global health R&D funding), malaria (US$9 million, 20%), and HIV/AIDS (US$6 million, 13%). Academic and other research institutions received 73% of all global health R&D funding. Global health R&D was also a topic during Germany’s G7 and G20 presidencies, with antimicrobial resistance (AMR) highlighted as a priority in the final documents of both summits. As an immediate outcome of the G20 summit, a G20 AMR R&D Collaboration Hub will be launched, with a secretariat in Berlin. The German government is also discussing options to better coordinate global health R&D in the domestic landscape of health research institutes, e.g. through a German Global Health R&D Hub.

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 two-thirds of Germany’s total global health R&D funding (62%, or US$28 million in 2016).

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 (US$4 million in 2016). In addition, former Health Minister Hermann 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 2016, it provided 26% (US$11 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.