‘3P Project’ WHO Bulletin editorial emphasises urgent need for R&D funding innovation

The May edition of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization features an editorial, Tuberculosis and Antimicrobial Resistance – New Models of Research and Development Needed, co-authored by representatives of innovative new research and development (R&D) initiative, the 3P Project. The authors include, from the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), José Luis Castro, Executive Director and Grania Brigden, 3P Project Lead.

The 3P project, developed in a partnership of several non-governmental organisations, medical research councils, civil society representatives and the South African government, is a new funding framework to support the development of new and better TB treatments that can be made available to all who need them. This initiative employs three ‘Ps’:

  • a pull incentive, rewarding research through prizes
  • pooling of intellectual property and data
  • pushing incentives through research grants.

There is currently a crisis in the state of TB R&D funding. Despite more people dying annually of TB (1.4 million in 2015) than of any other single infectious disease, levels of investment in R&D are at their lowest since 2008 at $620 million. In the past decade, only two new TB drugs have been licensed; bedaquiline and delamanid.

The editorial outlines how collaborative research initiatives like 3P are desperately needed to address this imbalance and to support the discovery and development of a one-month treatment regimen that can be used to cure all cases of tuberculosis.

Crucially, 3P’s funding model will ensure that any new regimen is affordable and accessible to all who need it. The article explains:

‘The 3P Project incentivises researchers by providing cash prizes for compounds that meet predefined product characteristics and are ready to enter phase I clinical trials. Coupling this financial reward with an obligation to pool the compounds data and intellectual property, the 3P Project will then fund the development of treatment combinations.

The project will thus de-link the costs of research and development from the final cost of the treatment and sales as defined by the UN Political declaration of the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on antimicrobial resistance; ensuring treatment affordability.’

The authors of the article are Grania Brigden and José Luis Castro, The Union; Lucica Ditiu, Stop TB Partnership; Glenda Gray, South African Medical Research Council; Debra Hanna, Critical Path Institute; Marcus Low, Global Tuberculosis Community Advisory Board; Malebona Precious Matsoso, Department of Health, South Africa; Greg Perry, Medicines Patent Pool; Melvin Spigelman, Global Alliance for TB Drug Development; Souyma Swaminathan, Indian Council of Medical Research; Els Torreele, Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign and Sidney Wong, Médecins Sans Frontières.

Read the full text of the editorial on the WHO website

The 3P Project was recently presented to a high-level panel event at the World Economic Forum Africa


Tuberculosis and Antimicrobial Resistance – New Models of Research and Development Needed (PDF 88KB)