Bill Gates-Backed Group Weighs Funding for Ebola Vaccine

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

As GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) and other drugmakers race to develop and deploy vaccines against West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, one key question remains: who will pay?

One answer is the GAVI Alliance, the Geneva-based organization funded by governments and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that is the biggest provider of money for vaccines sent to developing nations. The alliance is in talks with Glaxo, the World Health Organization and others about paying for the vaccines, and its board will make a decision when it meets next month, said Seth Berkley, GAVI’s chief executive officer.

GAVI is weighing whether to make an advanced commitment to buy vaccines at a premium to the manufacturing costs to spur drugmakers to speed development, Berkley said in a telephone interview. That may be necessary if Glaxo and other developers aren’t willing to donate the shots or to make the investments necessary to scale up production, he said.

“They have to ask their shareholders whether they want to spend that kind of money on something that is not going to be profitable,” Berkley said.

Source: Bloomberg (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases, public-private partnerships, vaccines