Research gap analysis

TDR helps countries identify research priorities based on evidence. To do that, we bring people together to review and analyse studies and outcomes. We work with policy-makers in the low- and middle-income countries, the research community and funding agencies. TDR provides a neutral platform where the full range of evidence and options can be discussed and actions planned.

Potential new pooled fund for health product R&D

A potential pooled fund for research and development (R&D) of health products operating under the governance of the World Health Organization (WHO) Member States will be discussed at the 69th World Health Assembly in May 2016. This would for the first time create a mechanism to identify and cost out health products for diseases of poverty.

The proposal follows the request in 2014 by WHO Member States for the WHO Director-General to investigate potential mechanisms and tools to finance R&D. These are for diseases that mainly affect low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and have a limited or no market.

TDR was selected as the organization most qualified to carry out the work, the results of which are available in a new TDR report, linked at the top of the right hand column.

TDR’s recommendations from this report are:

  • A fund of sufficient scale (e.g. incremental increase starting at US$ 10–15 million annually, gradually going up to US$ 100 million annually over a 10-year period) should be set up to support health product R&D.
  • The fund’s portfolio of projects (e.g. gradual increase in number of funded projects starting from five to seven projects per year to an average of 35–40 projects) should be balanced between short-term repurposing and longer-term discovery efforts.
  • The fund should have transparent, objective and non-political evidence-based decision-making processes.
  • The fund should be able to accept “new” funders and maximize leverage by encouraging new partnerships and collaborations.

A mere 1% of the new chemical compounds registered between 2000 and 2011 were approved for diseases of poverty, even though these diseases make up 11% of the disease burden.

Foreword, ‘Health Product Research and Development Fund: A proposal for financing and operation’

A range of new financial modelling tools and mechanisms, some of which will be published later in 2016, would guide the fund’s operation and create a fairer system of R&D.

The products developed by the fund would be designed according to TDR principles of being affordable, accessible, acceptable and available to those most in need.

Projects to be funded will be selected by a world class Scientific Working Group (SWG) convened by TDR, in coordination with global priority setting by WHO.

  • Read the full report
    Health Product Research and Development Fund: a Proposal for Financing and Operation

Related past publications

The WHO/TDR technical report series on research