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Rob Hecht at BVGH's "Blueprint for the Future - Exploring R&D Incentives"

14 July, 2011

On Monday June 27, R4D Managing Director Robert Hecht moderated the panel "Blueprint for the Future - Exploring R&D Incentives" at the BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) Partnering for Global Health Forum 2011. The forum, held as part of the larger Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) International Convention 2011, brought together several hundred leaders from the global health, biopharmaceutical, academic, and donor communities to discuss market-based solutions that will serve the health needs of the world's poorest.

Hecht’s panel focused on the need for incentive mechanisms, complementary to grant funding, to engage industry in global health research and development (R&D). The panelists included:

  • Margaret Anderson, Executive Director, FasterCures;
  • Don Joseph, COO, BIO Ventures for Global Health;
  • Jaykumar Menon, Senior Director, X Prize Foundation;
  • Robynn Sturm, Advisor, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The panel explored lessons learned from the Advance Market commitment (AMC) and other past and ongoing R&D incentive design efforts such as prizes for global health technologies, recently evaluated by R4D’s Center for Global Health R&D Policy Assessment.

During the session, Hecht led an animated discussion on incentives, drawing out the details of two different prizes for point-of-care diagnostics as proposed by BVGH and X Prize, and their potential to drive new product development by biotech firms. He highlighted the fact that, in the current challenging financial climate, prizes might be a feasible results-based approach that could be structured to align both donor and product developer interests.

During the Forum, R4D Program Officer Amrita Palriwala also led a roundtable discussion “Prizes for Industry” with leaders from biotechnology companies and prize developers. The roundtable provided an opportunity to look in greater depth at prize design options and to hear from industry about their recent initiatives to accelerate the development of needed drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for the developing world.