The Brucellosis Vaccine Project is a US $30 million Pay-for-Results prize contest that aims to incentivize animal health companies to develop a vaccine against Brucella melitensis, a strain of Brucellosis that particularly affects small ruminants (goats, sheep, etc.) and is prevalent throughout developing countries. Eligible companies can receive three milestone payments at different stages that could add up to a total of US $26 million for one entrant. The contest was launched in late 2016 and could span up to ten years.
Across the developing world, smallholder farmers rely heavily on livestock as a source of vital income and are an essential source of food for these households. Often, however, herds are threatened by a highly infectious disease known as Brucellosis that causes abortions, infertility, and decreased milk production; impacting a smallholder farmer’s potential to earn, support their family, and work to get out of poverty. The disease also threatens farmers’ health because it is zoonotic meaning it can cross the species barrier. While vaccines exist, they require complex management techniques that are not appropriate for developing country environments, and the disease remains endemic across much of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
The project's theory of change is that a pay-for-results prize will incentivize commercial and academic organizations to refocus efforts on developing and making market-ready an improved brucella melitensis vaccine that is safer and more efficacious than existing vaccines. The existence of an improved vaccine ready for the market will create the conditions to increase animal productivity and improve human health through reduced incidence of brucellosis.
The contest comprises three phases, with associated requirements and prizes as per the below diagram:
The project goal is to spur the development of a vaccine that will impact rural households in developing countries by reducing the incidence of Brucella melitensis and resulting abortion, infertility and decreased milk production among small ruminants. Decreased disease incidence is also expected to improve the health of the livestock producing households because Brucella melitensis is zoonotic and causes 90% of human brucellosis. The output is the creation of a vaccine that meets the MVP and potentially Best-in-Class requirements as outlined above.
This table illustrates how our learning has evolved from project design through implementation. Further details can be found in the Learning Library below.
The evaluation uses a mixed-methods approach drawing from the framework developed to evaluate innovation challenges. The evaluation uses three primary methods—a qualitative assessment, counterfactual disease study, and cost-effectiveness simulations. The Evaluator will assess the ability of the incentive to stimulate private sector involvement and innovation and ultimately to spur the development of an improved vaccine.
The baseline is expected to occur after all applications are received to allow appropriate sampling for the interviews, which is expected to be completed in late 2018.