The GAVI Alliance has launched an advance market commitment (AMC), which is using a $1.5bn (€1.1bn) fund to ensure the supply of pneumococcal vaccine to developing countries at affordable prices.
Developing countries are unable to afford the currently available pneumococcal vaccine and the minimal return on investment means there is little incentive for pharma companies to initiate further research.
Consequently the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), which consists of partners including the World Bank and five nations, has established the AMC to stimulate further research.
To achieve this GAVI has promised to buy vaccines at a price that makes R&D economically viable for pharma companies and then sell them to developing countries at an affordable rate.
By establishing this programme GAVI believes it can stimulate late stage development and manufacture of vaccines, encourage companies to invest in additional capacity and provide a revenue stream for pharmas.
Accelerating vaccine use
GAVI believes that by guaranteeing a long term price of $3.50, for a product that currently sells for $70 in industrialised nations, it can give developing countries access to pneumococcal vaccines 15-20 years before they would have otherwise been affordable.
Julian Lob-Levyt, CEO of GAVI, added: “The AMC is an important step towards reducing the health inequities between rich and poor, and a way to protect the lives of the world’s poorest children.
“An affordable pneumococcal vaccine is critical to reaching the Millennium Development Goals. We look forward to pharmaceutical firms applying to the AMC quickly in order to ensure the rapid introduction of life-saving vaccines against pneumonia.”
In addition to providing funding GAVI also has the expertise needed to evaluate and distribute the vaccine. The World Bank is providing fiduciary support and the World Health Organization (WHO) has established the minimum technical criteria for a suitable pneumococcal vaccine.
Once developed the vaccine will be obtained and distributed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Canada, Italy, the UK, Norway and Russia are also members of the alliance.