Prevalent in developing countries, Brucella melitensis is a strain of Brucellosis that particularly affects small ruminants such as goats and sheep. The Brucellosis Vaccine Challenge Project is a US$30 million Pay-for-Results prize contest launched in 2016 that aims to incentivize animal health companies to develop a vaccine against Brucella melitensis. Eligible companies can receive three milestone payments at different stages that could add up to a total of US$26 million for one entrant over the span of up to ten years.
For more detailed information about the Brucellosis Vaccine Challenge Project and to get involved, visit the official project website, managed by GALVmed.
Across the developing world, smallholder farmers rely heavily on livestock as a source of vital income and an essential source of food. However, livestock herds are often threatened by a highly infectious disease known as Brucellosis, which causes abortions, infertility, and decreased milk production. Brucellosis can significantly limit a smallholder farmer’s potential to earn, support their family, and break free of poverty. Because Brucellosis is zoonotic – meaning it can infect across species -- the disease also threatens farmers’ health. Although vaccines currently exist, they require complex management techniques that are not appropriate for developing country environments. As a result, the disease remains endemic across much of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
The project's Theory of Change asserts that a Pay-for-Results prize will incentivize commercial and academic organizations to refocus efforts on developing and scaling up an improved Brucella melitensis vaccine. A safer, more effective, and more accessible vaccine in the market will in turn boost animal productivity and improve human health.
As the diagram below shows, the contest comprises three phases, with associated requirements and prizes:
The project aims to spur the development of a vaccine that will benefit rural households in developing countries by reducing the incidence of Brucella melitensis among small ruminants. Specifically, the project will encourage the creation of a vaccine that meets the MVP and potentially Best-in-Class requirements outlined in the diagram above. With lower rates of Brucellosis, abortion and infertility rates are expected to go down while milk production will rise. Because Brucella melitensis is zoonotic and causes 90% of human cases, decreased disease incidence should improve the health of the livestock producing households.
This table illustrates how our learning has evolved from project design through implementation. Further details can be found in the Learning Library.
March 8, 2018 Phase 1 of the Brucellosis Vaccine ...
January 22, 2018 Judges have praised the quality ...
September 28, 2017 Additional prizes have been aw...
September 5, 2017 A fresh outbreak of brucellosis...
The evaluation uses a mixed-methods approach involving three primary methods to evaluate innovation challenges: a qualitative assessment, counterfactual disease study, and cost-effectiveness simulations. Through this approach, the Evaluator assesses the ability of the incentive to stimulate private sector involvement and innovation and ultimately to spur the development of an improved vaccine.
The Evaluator completed the baseline evaluation in May 2019. The first annual review is forthcoming in Spring 2020.
Gwynneth is a pharmacologist with more than 20 years’ experience across animal and human health product development management working for Boehringer Ingelheim, PPL Therapeutics (a biotech company best known for its work which resulted in Dolly the sheep). Subsequently, as a consultant, she advised young life sciences enterprises on product development planning and supported funding efforts. Gwynneth has worked with GALVmed for four years, supporting projects focused on the development of improved vaccines and sustainable animal health distribution channels for smallholder farmers.