Global Observatory on Health R&D

R&D funding flows for neglected diseases (G-FINDER), by disease, year and funding category

Published: January 2018

The product-related R&D funding flows for neglected diseases are collected from the Policy Cures Research G-FINDER survey. For 2016, funding data were collected from 187 private, public and philanthropic organizations, on all types of product-related R&D and basic research and platform technology covering 33 neglected diseases (note: the disease names have been reclassified here, see the classifications and standards section for the rationale and approach).

See also:

What you see

The data visualization illustrates funding trends by year, and % differences with previous year (top left, double chart), disease (right chart), and type of R&D (bottom left chart) for the period 2007–2016. All funding data has been adjusted for inflation, and is reported in 2016 US dollars (US$) (adjustment performed by the data source).

Points to note:
  • The G-FINDER survey data underestimate the total R&D investments for these diseases as reporting is incomplete and need to be interpreted cautiously due to the scope restrictions of the survey (outlined below).
  • In 2016, R&D investments on neglected diseases increased over that of the previous year for the first time since 2012. Investments amounted to around US$ 3.2 billion, indicating an increase of 4% between 2015 and 2016 (top left, double chart). This increase should be interpreted with caution, as it does not account for changes in survey participation (see the G-FINDER report).
  • R&D investments on neglected diseases are still highly focused on HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Together, they account for 70% of total investments in neglected diseases in 2016, with US$ 1,102 million for HIV/AIDS, followed by malaria (US$ 576 million) and tuberculosis (US$ 568 million) (Click on the bar for 2016 on the top left double chart to display data in the right chart).
  • Over the ten year period of investments on R&D for neglected diseases:
    -- Vaccine R&D for neglected diseases received the highest funding (US$ 11.7 billion) followed by basic research (US$ 7.2 billion) and medicines R&D (US$ 5.9 billion) (bottom left chart).
    -- A total of US$ 2.1 billion of multi-disease support (click on the fourth bar of the disease list on the right chart) covered core funding, other non-disease-specific R&D, platform technologies and adjuvants and immunomodulators (bottom left chart).
    -- US$ 1 billion of unspecified R&D funding accounts for investments that are directed to specific diseases, but have not been allocated to a R&D funding category(click on the unspecified R&D category in the bottom left chart to display the diseases concerned).

To explore the data further:

  • Select a single year (by clicking on a time point on the trend line or on the year-specific bar) to filter annual funding data by disease and R&D type and to compare year to year estimates and differences (top left, double chart).

  • Select a disease to filter annual funding data by year and R&D type (right chart).

  • Select by R&D type to filter annual funding data by year and disease.
    -- For example, selecting vaccines R&D (bottom left chart) shows that over 60% of total funding for neglected diseases on vaccines R&D is directed to HIV/AIDS (US$ 7 billion) (right chart).

  • Hover the cursor on a bar in a graphic to see more information in a popup window (e.g. year, investment amount, % difference [with previous year], disease, R&D type).

  • Undo a selection by clicking ‘undo’ or ‘reset’ near the bottom of the page or by clicking the same element again.

Scope and limitations

The data must be interpreted cautiously because of the specific scope restrictions of the G-FINDER survey (see link below for detail). The scope of the G-FINDER survey is determined by applying the following three criteria for neglected diseases. (R&D investments which do not meet these criteria are excluded.)

  • The disease disproportionately affects people in developing countries.
  • There is a need for new products (i.e. there is either no existing product, or improved or additional products are needed).
  • There is market failure in developing these new products (i.e. there is an insufficient commercial market to attract R&D by private industry).

For some diseases, only R&D funding for developing-country specific serotypes/strains or products are included. For example, genotypes 4, 5, and 6 only are included for Hepatitis C. R&D funding flows for VHFs included Ebola virus disease only since 2014 with the addition of Marburg virus disease, Lassa fever, Rift Valley fever and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever in 2015.

In addition, the funding data from industry is presented in an aggregated form for confidentiality. This means that funding levels by disease and R&D category substantially underestimate the actual investments in these diseases within the scope of G-FINDER described above.

Note that this latest data visualization does not contain data for R&D funding for Ebola and other viral haemorrhagic fevers (contained in the visualization published by the Observatory in April 2017) as the data for these have not been updated by Policy Cures Research. A separate report focusing on emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) identified in the WHO R&D Blueprint will address these; its data will be visualized and provided in the Observatory once available.

Note: For this set of analysis, developing-country-specific research on therapeutic vaccines for HIV/AIDS was included with vaccines R&D as a restricted category, reflecting emerging research into broadly neutralizing anti-HIV antibodies (bNAbs) and their potential use in developing countries.

Data sources