Implementing Innovative Financing for Global Health R&D


Lab participants David Ferreira of GAVI, Amie Batson of USAID, and Tara Hayward of the Sabin Vaccine Institute discuss the most efficient uses of capital to support new treatments for neglected diseases.
The global health community has made great strides in eradicating deadly diseases, but there is significant work yet to be done. There is an urgent need for vaccines and treatments to combat diseases like tuberculosis and malaria that disproportionately affect developing nations, but there is not enough investment to speed their development.

How can we channel capital to fund this discovery and innovation? What are the most effective models for financing and partnership? Over the past decade, there have been many promising developments in terms of collaboration and market-based incentives, but a huge funding gap remains. How can we expand innovations like product development partnerships and advance market commitments to attract capital from investors not typically engaged in the sector? Can we engage sovereign wealth funds and other institutional investors as well as a broader network of philanthropies and aid organizations?

To answer these questions and advance solutions, the Milken Institute convened a Financial Innovations Lab, held with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders in the global health space to map out implementation strategies for scaling up innovative financing mechanisms to fund R&D.

The Lab discussions seemed to revolve around a common theme: The enormity of the challenges facing the global health field has necessitated a variety of financial models and solutions that could benefit from more efficient coordination across the entire R&D value chain. While this can make for a very broad conversation, it also demonstrates the great depth of the innovation in this space. For example, the conversation moved from traditional aid models, to innovations that can make philanthropic funding more effective, to pure capital market mechanisms. These include:

  • Identifying which areas of global health R&D are appropriate only for straight grant funding and which areas are ripe for innovative financing.
  • Making government aid and foundation capital more effective through (a) new applications for the Advance Market Commitment and the International Finance Facility for Immunization models and (b) more innovative financing in the form of program and mission-related investments to provide credit enhancements and equity positions for global health R&D.
  • Utilizing public and private capital through financial models, from the newly established JP Morgan Global Health Investment Fund to a blended capital public-private partnership to a fixed-income security that could attract large institutional investors.

    Because of the multi-faceted nature of the discussion, the Institute looks forward to continuing the conversation to promote clarity and support implementation of existing and proposed models.

    Results from the Lab, including recommended next steps for implementation, can be found here. For more information, contact Caitlin MacLean, Senior Manager of Financial Innovations Labs, at