GSK is to invest £1 billion over the course of 10 years into research on infectious diseases that largely affect low-income countries.
In particular, the pharmaceutical company will aim to develop new vaccines and medicines that prevent and treat malaria, tuberculosis, HIV (through ViiV Healthcare), neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), and anti-microbial resistance (AMR) – all of which place a considerable disease burden on many lower-income countries.
To deliver on its targets, GSK has formed a non-commercial Global Health Unit, its success of which will be measured solely through health impacts. This model is designed to prioritise the prevention and treatment infectious diseases in lower-income countries through GSK’s science and with little prospect of a commercial return on investment.
GSK will set up dedicated Global Health innovation hubs for vaccines and pharmaceuticals which will collaborate with partners to accelerate the discovery and development of new vaccines and medicines. GSK states that these hubs have over 30 potential vaccines and medicines targeting 13 high-burden infectious diseases.
Specifically, the investment of £1bn for Global Health R&D will support GSK’s efforts to:
- Deliver vaccines and medicines for malaria and tuberculosis, offering shorter, simpler, safer treatment options for patients, including R&D on long-acting injectables to protect against P. falciparum malaria.
- Through ViiV Healthcare, work in partnership towards the goal of ending HIV/AIDS by developing and enabling access to innovative treatment and prevention options for people affected by HIV.
- Reduce antibiotic resistance by advancing our industry-leading pipeline for vaccines, including first-in-class vaccines against invasive non-typhoidal salmonellosis and shigellosis.
- Catalyse external funding for R&D for high-burden infectious diseases through multi-sectoral collaborations and alliances.
Thomas Breuer, GSK Chief Global Health Officer, speaking at the Kigali Summit on Malaria and NTDs in Rwanda, said: “I am delighted to renew our commitment to global health research for the coming decade, consistent with our purpose to unite our science, technology, and talent to get ahead of disease together and our ambition to deliver health impact at scale. Through our focus on scientific innovation in Global Health, we have delivered the first malaria vaccine, RTS,S, the first radical cure of vivax malaria, tafenoquine, and a new tuberculosis vaccine candidate. GSK now has more than 30 potential new vaccines and medicines (including pre-clinical assets) in 13 high-burden infectious diseases to accelerate, and we must work collectively with urgency to bring these potentially life-saving innovations to people that need them.”
Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, Minister of Health for Malawi, said: “We have made great progress in reducing the burden of infectious diseases, including eliminating lymphatic filariasis from Malawi. But some diseases have persisted because the vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat them don’t exist or have become less effective due to growing resistance. GSK’s announcement demonstrates their commitment to close the innovation gap and is a pivotal step towards removing infectious disease as a barrier to a healthier and more equal world.”