Public-private partnerships in the world of medicines development offer a unique opportunity to power innovation forward. By pooling the resources of diverse stakeholders – from governments to the pharmaceutical industry, academic institutions and more – PPPs have the potential to tackle today’s toughest healthcare challenges.

The newly launched Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund is the latest PPP intent on proving how such collaboration can encourage innovation: Bringing together Japanese pharmaceutical companies, the Japanese government, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, GHIT will fund the development of new medicines and technologies to address key health issues in developing countries.

Innovating for the Developing World

The first public-private partnership of its kind in Japan, the GHIT Fund’s R&D projects will focus specifically on innovative medicines, vaccines, neglected tropical diseases, and diagnostic tools for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria. “The key is for our Fund to provide speed and impact through the facilitation and funding of collaborations,” the GHIT Fund's chair and science adviser to the Japanese government Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa said in a statement.

GHIT follows the principles of PPPs like the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a joint initiative of EFPIA and the European Commission to fund innovative research projects. IMI is the largest PPP in Europe, bringing together diverse stakeholders across the EU, from patient groups to academics. It supports collaborative research projects that tackle such high-priority health issues as Anti-Microbial Resistance, a growing trend in depression, and Multi-Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis, a problem that still plagues developing and developed countries alike.  

Think Globally, Benefit Locally

As initiatives like IMI continue to show success, we hope that others will recognise that no man is an island when it comes to research and establish their own collaborative endeavours. PPPs like IMI and GHIT not only benefit public health, but also economic and innovative futures of participating countries. In his statement, Dr. Kurokawa noted that “Through the Fund, Japan will increase its partnerships globally and this will in effect, I believe, energize the nation.”

Dr. Kurokawa’s words are a reminder that we must not drop the ball on our own initiatives: A shadow has already been cast on IMI’s future with the proposed cuts to the Horizon 2020 budget. It is imperative that funding for programmes like IMI remains intact, in the interests of both European innovation and the greater public health good.

By looking beyond our own borders, we can find benefits for ourselves and others alike.