Today the Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon Julie Bishop MP, announced a 50 per cent increase Australian funding for the development of innovative tools to combat malaria, other mosquito-borne diseases, and tuberculosis (TB). Australia’s landmark Health Security Initiative, Australia will provide $75 million in funding for four Product Development Partnerships over the period 2018 to 2022.
These new tools will save lives and improve the health security of developing countries who bear 99% of the world’s malaria burden.
Head of the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security, Robin Davies, said: “The Foreign Minister’s announcement represents Australia’s next step in contributing to the security of our region.
Malaria and TB are increasingly difficult to treat owing to the emergence of drug resistance, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region. The global community needs to invest in the discovery and development of new treatments and diagnostic tools for these diseases that still kill over two million people annually, including half a million children.”
Following a highly competitive selection process, four PDPs have each been awarded $18.75 million over the period 2018 to 2022.
The Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) will be supported to develop and facilitate the uptake of new antimalarial drugs.
The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) will be supported to accelerate the development and adoption of better diagnostic tools and testing protocols for TB and malaria.
The Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC) will receive Australian funding for the first time to develop and disseminate vector control technologies for malaria and other deadly mosquito-borne diseases.
The TB Alliance will be supported to research new TB drugs and treatment regimens, including for drug-resistant TB.
IVCC Chief Executive Dr Nick Hamon said, “IVCC has supported the development of vector control products since its inception in 2005. Together with the Australian Government and partners we look forward to leveraging and adapting this robust pipeline of innovative vector control solutions to maximise the opportunity to save lives in the Indo-Pacific region and help prevent the spread of vector borne diseases.”
“For MMV, Australia’s renewed commitment to research and development for malaria, as part of its Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific region, is of huge importance.” Dr. David Reddy, CEO of the Medicines for Malaria Venture added.
“With drug resistance threatening malaria control efforts in the region, Australia’s funding will help us develop novel cures and preventive therapies that will directly benefit the Indo-Pacific region and Australia’s partner countries. The ultimate beneficiaries will be the vulnerable populations at high risk from malaria, mainly pregnant women and young children, living in the most impoverished rural communities.”
This announcement increases Australia’s annual funding for PDPs from $10 million to $15 million and provides funding certainty for up to five years. It follows an independent review of Australia’s past support for PDPs which found that they deliver results, manage risks while fostering innovation, and represent good value for money.
Australia’s previous funding of the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) PDP supported the development of Coartem® Dispersible, the first anti-malarial drug made especially for children. FIND (Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics), another PDP funded in 2015, used Australian and partner funds to develop the Xpert® Ultra test, which allows healthcare workers to more accurately diagnose drug-resistant TB with, portable, cheaper tests.
By prioritising the development of new drugs and diagnostics for malaria and tuberculosis, and vector control tools for mosquito borne diseases, the Health Security Initiative continues Australia’s commitment to disrupting the spread of infectious disease through innovative approaches.Foreign Minister's Media Release DevPolicy Blog; Tools of the trade: Australia’s new investment in global health R&D by Blair Exell, Robin Davies