AgResults’ Global US $30 million Brucellosis Vaccine Prize competition aims to incentivize vaccine development breakthrough
EDINBURGH, UK, November 2016 – A US $30 million prize competition to develop a brucellosis vaccine to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in developing countries is now open for applications.
The Brucellosis Vaccine Prize invites vaccine developers to submit their proposals for – and ultimately develop – a suitable vaccine that is efficacious, safe and viable for use against Brucella melitensis in small ruminants across the developing world.
The competition is funded by AgResults, a collaborative initiative between the governments of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in an effort to find innovative solutions from the private sector to seemingly intractable development challenges. The pilot, which could last up to ten years, will be managed by the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed).
Peter Jeffries, CEO of GALVmed, said the competition mechanism is ultimately designed to help control brucellosis, which impacts the majority of the 900 million people in developing countries whose livelihoods depend on livestock.
“Brucellosis is a significant disease for many in the developing world and there is a significant unmet need in terms of the vaccines currently available. While a brucellosis vaccine exists, the zoonotic disease remains endemic across much of the developing world – with the annual impact to smallholder farmers in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa estimated at US $641 million per year.
“Brucellosis can also be transmitted to humans, causing flu-like symptoms, exacerbating productivity loss and depressing incomes and vulnerable families.”
Outlining the prize mechanism, Monica Barrett, AgResults’ Secretariat representative explained:
“The competition is split into three phases, with milestone payments at each phase, which could amount to more than US $26 million for the winning entrant. The prize is structured to offset the costs that may dissuade private sector companies from creating a vaccine that ensures safety and efficacy in the developing country context.”
Dr Jeffries hopes the prize competition will allow vaccine developers to see the additional benefits that a vaccine could bring.
“The competition is open to anyone who has the ability to develop vaccines and the desire to help people and animals. That may include animal health, biotech and pharmaceutical companies, as well as academic and research institutions. Institutions will be required to supply evidence of support from an organization with expertise in the manufacture and commercialization of animal health products.”
Applications for the first phase of the competition – for which there are ten prizes of US $100,000 – must be received by November 2017. Potential entrants are invited to submit their applications at www.brucellosisvaccine.org. Full details and competition rules are also available on the website.
AgResults and GALVmed will deliver a joint presentation on the initiative at the forthcoming International Brucellosis Research Conference, to be held at the National Agricultural Science Complex in New Delhi, India, from November 17th to 19th, 2016.