The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public-Private Partnership Program is designed to facilitate collaborations to improve public health through biomedical and behavioral research. Partnerships can be established directly between the NIH—as a whole or through one or more of its Institutes, such as NIAID—and any of a several organizations, including patient advocacy groups, foundations, pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies, and academic institutions.
NIAID uses solicitations to support public-private partnerships that stimulate private-sector investment in the development of innovative ideas, preclinical and clinical trials, and products that would otherwise be too risky to be considered by private companies. For example, public-private partnerships, such as the Medicines for Malaria Venture, the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, work to support and accelerate discovery, clinical research, and product development.
Many of these partnerships have produced notable successes. For example, in 2010 a clinical study conducted by FIND reported a major milestone in tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis. It showed that a test developed through an NIAID-supported public-private partnership yields highly accurate and much more rapid results than what is possible with current TB diagnostics. In the study of 1,730 patients, the Cepheid Xpert MTB/RIF TB test successfully identified 98 percent of all confirmed TB cases and 98 percent of patients with TB bacteria resistant to rifampin, a commonly used TB drug. The Xpert TB test provides results in fewer than two hours. Current TB diagnostics can take several weeks, even months.
In 2007, NIAID launched NIAID Partnerships with Public-Private Partnerships to establish collaborations with diverse organizations to develop new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for neglected diseases. Such ventures include multiple partners and help to obtain funds and resources from public-sector agencies, philanthropic organizations, and others. One recent collaboration aims to develop a new drug for visceral leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease that is fatal if left untreated. Another seeks to increase the drug pipeline for drugs against African sleeping sickness.
For more information about public-private partnerships, visit the NIH Public-Private Partnership Program.