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EDCTP’s strategic collaboration with 
Product Development Partnerships

Globally and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, PDPs play a crucial role in developing new drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, and devices and providing access to these. In this article, we would like to highlight PDPs through the lens of their involvement in EDCTP: as grantees, as co-investors and as partners in our strategy.

Lara Pandya

PDPs as grantees 

Currently, eight PDPs have received grants under the current EDCTP programme. Collectively, €25.4 million has been awarded in relation to their participation in 23 (signed or awarded) EDCTP projects, eight of which are coordinated by a PDP. Many of these projects (14) aim to address the unmet needs of underserved populations, such as infants, children, adolescents, pregnant and breastfeeding women, people with co-infections and remote or isolated highly at-risk populations such as fishing communities. 

Some examples of PDP involvement in EDCTP-funded R&D illustrate their important contribution to the consortia. In all these cases, the PDPs have the products that are being evaluated in their product portfolios and they contribute to the blend of the required interdisciplinary expertise and coordination to deliver clinical trials in complex settings.

PDPs as co-investors

PDPs are also co-investors in international collaborative clinical research projects funded by EDCTP under its so-called strategic calls for proposals. These projects must have enough scale and ambition to justify support from other funders. Ideally, at least half the cost of the large-scale programme of activities should be supported by funders other than EDCTP. As per 31 December 2019, an additional €329.9 million from public and private partners has been leveraged through EDCTP’s strategic projects, to which PDPs contributed approximately €50.3 million (15%).

PDPs are also involved in EDCTP’s so-called Participating States’ Initiated Activities (PSIAs). PSIAs are the main mechanism for member countries of EDCTP (i.e. the Participating States) to make in-kind contributions to the EDCTP2 programme. These activities – within the scope of EDCTP2 - are funded and implemented independently from EDCTP by one or more Participating States. Approximately 19% of the indicative commitments for PSIAs is allocated towards PDPs (€207.3 million). Seven Participating States invested in 11 PDPs through 31 PSIAs, with the United Kingdom and the Netherlands supporting the most PDPs. DNDi, IAVI, MMV and IPM (International Partnership for Microbicides) are the most frequently supported PDPs.

Finally, PDPs provide an in-kind contribution to the EDCTP programme through the EDCTP-WHO/TDR joint calls on Clinical Research and Product Development Fellowships which have been regularly launched in 2014-2019. DNDi, IAVI, EVI and FIND have participated as potential host institutions offering placements for the fellows seeking to obtain first-hand experience on different aspects of product development.

Partners in strategy

As can be expected, EDCTP and PDPs frequently meet in international panels and at events on global health organised by EDCTP or PDPs. EDCTP also participates in the PDP Funders Group, an informal network of public and private organisations providing financial support to PDPs, and regularly attends PDP donor roundtables organised through this group.

Moreover, PDPs have voiced strong support for the continuation of the EDCTP programme under the EU-Africa Global Health Partnership and advocated for EDCTP through collective position papers published in February 2018 by DSW (Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung) and a subsequent one published by PATH in April 2019.

It is anticipated that the European Union-Africa Global Health Partnership programme will consolidate EDCTP’s investment in late-stage product development while using more flexible and long-term approaches to establish strategic alliances with product developers. These include small- and medium-sized enterprises, large pharmaceutical companies, and certainly also PDPs, with whom EDCTP’s long-term and strategic engagement will be continued.

Recent years have seen significant progress in the development of new interventions for poverty-related and neglected infectious diseases. Although overall funding still is not proportional to the burden of these diseases, product pipelines are in general in a healthier state than a decade ago. This reflects the work of academic groups involved in early-stage drug discovery, innovative non-profit agencies and global public-private product development partnerships (PDPs).


The Rapid and accurate diagnosis of paediatric TB (Rapaed) project is coordinated by Dr Norbert Heinrich from the Ludwig Maximilians Universität München, Germany. PDP FIND (the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics) is one of the nine partners in this consortium. The €3 million project is exploring a range of new and innovative tools for diagnosing TB in children – the lack of which is one of the biggest obstacles to TB control. The RaPaed TB team anticipates that at least two of innovative new approaches will prove sufficiently sensitive to attract WHO endorsement.

IAVI: €7.1 million in-kind to GREAT: Globally Relevant AIDS Vaccine Europe-Africa Trials Partnership

FIND: €2.0 million in-kind to CAP-TB: Close the Gap, Increase Access, Provide Adequate Therapy

TBA: €20.4 million in-kind to Simplici-TB: Simplified Short Treatment for Tuberculosis

MMV: €19.9 million in-cash to PAMAfrica: Portfolio approach to developing the next generation of malaria treatments for Africa

PATH: €0.9 million in-kind to PfTBV: Rapid evaluation of P. falciparum Transmission Blocking Vaccine (PfTBV) candidates through enhanced African Resource Centers for integration into malaria control and elimination.

Participation of PDPs in EDCTP projects by diseases