FIND and Policy Cures Research publish new report providing insights and background into funding for diagnostics R&D

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – 9 December 2022. A new report released today provides insights into the historical funding landscape for diagnostics R&D, including areas of progress, where funding still lags behind, and what the global response to COVID-19 can tell us about the level of R&D funding we really need.

The report – prepared collaboratively by Policy Cures Research and FIND, the global alliance for diagnostics – sheds light on potential key drivers in the ongoing shortfall in diagnostics R&D investment for neglected diseases, emerging infectious diseases and sexual & reproductive health issues. It outlines the case for expanded diagnostics R&D funding and how investments in diagnostics can strengthen health systems to drive progress in universal health coverage and global health security.

The content draws on more than a decade of diagnostics R&D funding data captured by Policy Cures Research’s G-FINDER project, and FIND’s expertise in the policy- and field-level challenges that have limited access to the range of reliable diagnostics needed, suitable and available for use in low-resource settings.

Key findings

  1. Diagnostics receive only a small share of global health R&D funding. Over the last decade, the share of global funding going to diagnostics R&D has ranged from a low of 4.7% ($142m) in 2013 to a high of 7.0% ($272m) in 2017, before peaking – in absolute terms – in 2020, when more than $200m was allocated to COVID-19 diagnostics R&D alongside much larger investments in COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. Although differences in development costs mean we would not necessarily expect equal funding across different product areas, the size of the gap in diagnostic funding appears too large to be explained solely by more expensive trials for vaccines and therapeutics.
  2. The biggest funders of diagnostics R&D are also among the largest funders of global health R&D overall. The US National Institutes of Health, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the US Department of Defense, the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, the European Commission, and industry together account for 69% of funding for diagnostics and diagnostic platforms over the last decade.
  3. The small share of investment in diagnostics R&D persists across all three global health areas tracked by G-FINDER, and for COVID-19. Diagnostics receive less than a tenth of R&D funding for neglected diseases, emerging infectious diseases, sexual & reproductive health issues, as well as COVID-19.
  4. Benefits of improved diagnostics extend beyond the patient, but can be hard to measure formally. Metrics for measuring impact need to evolve to capture the vital role of diagnostics in management of population health, pandemic preparedness and public health response at the national and global levels.
  5. A coordinated global approach is needed to provide the funding required to address the diagnostics R&D gap. The global responses to COVID-19 and – eventually – to Ebola show that the rapid development of crucial diagnostics is possible, cost effective and comparatively cheap. We need better mechanisms for funding product development in the absence of an obvious crisis.

Acess the full report

 

About FIND

FIND, the global alliance for diagnostics, seeks to ensure equitable access to reliable diagnosis around the world. We connect countries and communities, funders, decision-makers, healthcare providers and developers to spur diagnostic innovation and make testing an integral part of sustainable, resilient health systems. We are working to save 1 million lives through accessible, quality diagnosis, and save US$1 billion in healthcare costs to patients and health systems. We are co-convener of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator diagnostics pillar, and a WHO Collaborating Centre for Laboratory Strengthening and Diagnostic Technology Evaluation. For more information, please visit www.finddx.org

Media contact
Sarah-Jane Loveday
Director, Communications
M: +41 79 431 62 44
media@finddx.org

 

About Policy Cures Research

Policy Cures Research is an independent, not-for-profit, research and policy organization providing strategic analysis and decision-making tools for those involved in the creation of new health technologies for neglected diseases, sexual and reproductive health, and emerging infectious diseases. Its focus is on providing governments, funders, researchers and civil society organizations with the insights they need to make optimal R&D policy and funding decisions for diseases affecting the world’s poorest populations.

Media contact
Emmanuelle Bomo
Communications Lead
M: +44 7857 999 577
media@policycuresresearch.org