EDCTP_logo_redThe first six months of 2014 have been busy for the global health community, particularly at the EU level. Throughout the spring, the different players in Brussels and The Hague put the final touches to the next phase of the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership, better known as the EDCTP. This work culminates next week at the seventh biennial EDCTP Forum in Berlin. Ahead of this important meeting, in which DSW will be actively involved, it the perfect moment to give an overview of EDCTP, the forum and where it is headed in the next couple of years.

EDCTP – what is it?

EDCTP is the European Union’s foremost instrument in supporting and advancing investment in innovation for global health R&D the forefront of R&D in the health sector. The programme finances efforts to tackle poverty-related and neglected tropical diseases, with a focus on HIV and AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis.

The EDCTP was established in 2003 and is a partnership of 16 European countries (among which 14 are Members of the European Union), and 48 sub-Saharan African countries. Its original objective was to address the critical need for much-needed, affordable, innovative and quality health products to prevent, diagnose and treat HIV and AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

Following its successful first cycle, both the scope and the budget of EDCTP have now been expended. EDCTP 2 is funded by the EU up to €683 million, matching the Participating States’ financial contributions for the period 2014-2023. EDCTP2 will spearhead collaborative efforts to support now the whole clinical development from phase I to IVwith a main focus on phase II and III of new or improved diagnostics, drugs, vaccines and microbicides. The scope of EDCTP will also expand to also include neglected infectious diseases (PRNDs excluding Chagas disease).

What will EDCTP2 do?

EDCTP2 is targeted at having new products developed for market release by the end of the programme. EDCTP 2 will also focus on capacity development for clinical trials and clinical research in sub-Saharan countries, and strengthen closer collaboration with other actors, including industry, philanthropy, product development partners, and development cooperation agencies through new funding schemes.

DSW will continue to follow this process as it progresses, making sure the voices of those affected most by these diseases are fully taken into account at every step.

Why is this important?

HIV and AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis (and 17 neglected tropical diseases listed hereby the WHO) affect more than one billion people across the globe. They are collectively responsible for the death of 4 million people each year. Girls and young women are particularly at risk of, for example, HIV. In sub-Saharan Africa, according to the WHO, women account for roughly 60% of all HIV infections; there are, approximately, 15.5 million women aged 15 and older living with HIV today. What is more, girls and women are more likely to become infected with HIV though sexual transmission, through a combination of biological, cultural social and economic reasons. It is precisely these women who stand to gain the most from accelerated global health R&D investment – new way of protecting themselves, new interventions such as microbicides and long-term contraception, and new treatments for women and girls living with HIV.

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The EDCTP Forum – what will DSW be doing?

The seventh EDCTP Forum starts this Monday (June 30th) in Berlin, and DSW will be front and centre. The theme of this year’s forum is “The Partnership journey: New horizon for better health” and will host around 350 participants, including policy makers, regulators, product development partners, research and health funding organisations, private sector alliances, government representatives and non-governmental organisations. It acts as an opportunity for these different sectors to meet and discuss the latest state of research and the fight against HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

With global health (and more specifically global health R&D) so important to our work at DSW, and with the forum taking place right on our doorstep in Berlin, we could not let this opportunity pass. That is why the day after the formal programme is finished we will be organising a Parliamentary Round Table on “EDCTP & Research and Development for Poverty-Related and Neglected Diseases”.

1bf3d0b0-321e-4dda-ac87-424031b0d4d8This lunch event, taking place at the German Parliament, will give a more political and policy view on the latest development in the field, complemented the more research-focused bent of the formal EDCTP Forum. Featuring speakers from German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the EDCTP Secretariat, and the European Vaccine Initiative (EVI), the event is hosted by German MPs Anette Huebinger and MP Dr Claudia Luecking-Michel.

For more information and details on how to register (which closes on Tuesday 1st July), click on the link here.

Before the festivities kick off next week, we would just like to wish the organisers of the Forum, and all of our partners, the best of luck. We are really looking forward to a stimulating and interesting couple of days, and will be sure to report back to you when the dust has settled. In the meantime, stay tuned to our Twitter and Facebook accounts for updates!