Managing Collaborative Scientific Research Partnerships: Neglected Tropical Diseases and the WIPO Re:Search Model

Anatole Krattiger, Meghana Sharafudeen


This article examines open and collaborative approaches to capturing the critical capacities required for research and development (R&D), specifically in the context of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). It identifies key factors that shape the nature of public-private partnerships in this complex, resource intensive space, including disease focus and scope of the consortium, applied funding models and their consequent sustainability, structure and governance mechanisms, intellectual property policies and management, as well as transparent mechanisms for ensuring impact. In undertaking this analysis, we focus primarily on the example of the WIPO Re:Search, a consortium led by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) (a specialized agency of the United Nations) for sharing innovation in the fight against NTDs, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria, in order to demonstrate how each of these factors has served to influence the overall framework of a specific public-private partnership. We find that each of the aforementioned factors critically influences the buy-in of stakeholders, who occupy spaces all along the drug development value chain and have drastically divergent priorities, motivations, and mandates. We conclude that there is no “one size fits all” approach, and that each partnership must carefully and strategically identify the tailored set of parameters that maximize incentives and output from within the consortium.



Neglected tropical diseases, open innovation, collaboration, scientific research, drug development, R&D, public private partnerships, WIPO Re:Search

Full Text:

 Subscribers Only


Carroll GP, Srivastava S, Volini AS, Pineiro-Nunez MM, Vetman T. Measuring the effectiveness and impact of an open innovation platform. Drug Discovery Today. 2017;22(5):776-785. Available from:

Allen D, Berg C. The sharing economy: How over-regulation could destroy an economic revolution. Institute of Public Affairs. Melbourne, 2013. Available from: 22 November 2017)

Finley K. Trust in the sharing Economy: an exploratory study. Coventry: University of Warwick; 2013. Available from:

Daunoriene A, Draksaite A, Snieska V, Valodkiene G. Evaluating sustainability of sharing economy business models. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences. 2015;213:836 – 841. Available from: doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.11.486

Munoz P, Cohen B. Mapping out the sharing economy: A configurational approach to sharing business modelling. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 2017. Available from:

Chesbrough H, Vanhaverbeke W, West J. (eds.), Open Innovation: Researching a New Paradigm. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006

Reichman M, Simpson PB. Open innovation in early drug discovery: roadmaps and roadblocks. Drug Discovery Today. 2016;21(5):779-788. Available from:

OECD, 2010. The OECD Innovation Strategy: Getting a Head Start on Tomorrow. Paris: OECD; 2010. Available from:

Kuhlmann S, Rip A. The challenge of addressing Grand Challenges: a think piece on how innovation can be driven towards the Grand Challenges as defined under the prospective European Union Framework Programme Horizon 2020. Brussels: ERIAB; 2014. Available from:

Nilsson A. Making norms to tackle global challenges: The role of Intergovernmental Organisations. Research Policy. 2017;46:171–181. Available from:

United Nations. Goal 17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. Available from: (Accessed 22 November 2017)

World Health Organisation. Neglected tropical diseases. Available from:

(Accessed 22 November 2017)

Hotez PJ, Alvarado M, Basanez MG, Bolliger I, Bourne R, et al. The global burden of disease study 2010: interpretation and implications for the neglected tropical diseases. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2014;8:e2865. Available from: doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002865

Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 Collaborators. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries, 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Lancet. 2015;386:743–800.

Murray CJ, Ortblad KF, Guinovart C, Lim SS, et al. Global, regional, and national incidence and mortality for HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria during 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Lancet. 2014;384(9947):1005–70.

Murray CJ, Barber RM, Foreman KJ, Abbasoglu Ozgoren A, et al. Global, regional, and national disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for 306 diseases and injuries and healthy life expectancy (HALE) for 188 countries, 1990–2013: quantifying the epidemiological transition. Lancet. 2015;386(10009):2145–91.

Naghavi M, Wang H, Lozano R, Davis A, Liang X, Zhou M, et al. Global, regional, and national age-sex specific all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 240 causes of death, 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Lancet. 2015;385(9963):117–71.

Hotez PJ. Neglected tropical diseases in the anthropocene: the cases of Zika, Ebola, and other infections. Plos Negl Trop Dis. 2016;10(4):e0004648.

Hotez PJ. NTDs V.2.0: “Blue Marble Health” - Neglected tropical disease control and elimination in a shifting health policy landscape. PLOS Negl Trop Dis. 2013;7:e2570.

Hotez PJ. Blue marble health redux: Neglected tropical diseases and human development in the Group of 20 (G20) nations and Nigeria. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2015;9(7):e0003672.

Hotez PJ. Blue marble health and “the big three diseases”: HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Microbes Infec. 2015;17(8):539-41.

Hotez PJ, Peiperl L. Noncommunicable diseases: A globalization of disparity? PLoS Med. 2015;12(7): e1001859.

Holmes A, Moore LSP, Sundsfjord A. Steinbakk M, Regmi S. et al. Understanding the mechanisms and drivers of antimicrobial resistance. The Lancet. 2015;387(10014):176-187. Available from:

Jenner A, Bhagwandin N, Kowalski S. Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) / Multidrug Resistance (MDR): Overview of current approaches, consortia and intellectual property issues. Global Challenges Report. WIPO: Geneva; 2017. Available from: (Accessed 22 November 2017)

Research in America. U.S. Investments in Medical and Health Research and Development 2013 – 2015. Arlington: RIA; 2016. Available from:

Policy Cures Research. G-FINDER 2016: Neglected disease funders. Sydney: Policy Cures Research; 2016. Available from: (Accessed 22 November 2017)

Molyneux DH. Neglected tropical diseases – beyond the tipping point. The Lancet. 2010;375(9708):3–4.

Lim MD. Consortium Sandbox: Building and Sharing Resources. Sci. Transl. Med. 2014;6(242). Available from: DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3009024

Giannopoulou E, Ystrom A, Ollila S. Turning open innovation into practice: open innovation research through the lens of managers. Int. J. Innov. Manag. 2011;15:505-524. Available from:

Du J, Leten B, Vanhaverbeke W. Managing open innovation projects with science-based and market-based partners. Research Policy. 2014; 43(5):838-840. Available from:

Kar S. Open innovation: an answer for neglected diseases. Future Med. Chem. 2010;2(9): 1411–1415

Gustavsen K, Hanson C. Progress in public–private partnerships to fight neglected diseases. Health Affairs. 2009;28:1745–1749

Talaga P. Open innovation share or die. Drug Discovery Today. 2009;14:21–22.

Masum H, Harris R. Open Source for Neglected Diseases: Magic Bullet or Mirage? Washington DC: Results for Development Institute; 2011. Available from: (Accessed 22 November 2017)

Edwards A. Editorial: Open-source science to enable drug discovery. Drug Discovery Today. 2008;13(17/18):731-733. Available from: doi:10.1016/j.drudis.2008.04.011

George G, Zahra SA, Wood DR. The effects of business–university alliances on innovative output and financial performance: a study of publicly traded biotechnology companies. J. Bus. Venturing. 2002;17(6): 577–609.

Santoro, M.D., 2000. Success breeds success: the linkage between relationship intensity and tangible outcomes in industry-university collaborative ventures. J. High Technol. Manage. Res. 11 (2), 255–273

Open Source Drug Discovery. What is OSDD? Available from:

(Accessed 22 November 2017)

BIO Ventures for Global Health. WIPO Re:Search Collaboration Map. Seattle: BVGH, 2017. Available from: (Accessed 22 November 2017)

World Intellectual Property Organisation. WIPO Re:Search Strategic Plan 2017–2021. Geneva:WIPO;2017. Available from: (Accessed 22 November 2017)

Mahoney RT. Strategic Review of WIPO Re:Search. Global Challenges Report. WIPO: Geneva; 2015. Available from: (Accessed 24 November 2017)

Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination. Research and development to meet health needs in developing countries: strengthening global financing and coordination. Report of the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination. Geneva: WHO; 2012. Available from: (Accessed 22 November 2017)

Jedrusik A. Sharing innovation and building capacity to fight neglected tropical diseases: A selection of WIPO Re:Search fellowship stories. Global Challenges Report. WIPO: Geneva; 2016. Available from:

Andreozzi S. A new approach to sharing the scientific resources that enable 21st century research. Available from: (Accessed 22 November 2017)

Ardal C, Røttingen J-A. Open Source Drug Discovery in Practice: A Case Study. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2012;6(9):e1827. Available from: doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001827

The Synaptic Leap. Open source biomedical research for the 21st century. Available from:

Pollastri MP. Finding New Collaboration Models for Enabling Neglected Tropical Disease Drug Discovery. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2014;8(7):e2866. Available from: doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002866

World Intellectual Property Organisation. Becoming a member of WIPO Re:Search. Available from: (Accessed 22 November 2017)

Chang M, Grieder FB. Sharing Core Facilities and Research Resources—An Investment in Accelerating Scientific Discoveries. Journal of Biomolecular Techniques. 2016;27:2–3. Available from: doi: 10.7171/jbt.16-2701-004

Sisodiya SR, Johnson JL, Gregoire Y. Inbound open innovation for enhanced performance: Enablers and opportunities. Industrial Marketing Management. 2013. Available from:

Estrada I, Faems D, Cruz NM, Santana PP. The role of interpartner dissimilarities in Industry-University alliances: Insights from a comparative case study. Research Policy. 2016;45:2008-2022. Available from:

Uziene L. Open Innovation, Knowledge Flows and Intellectual Capital. Procedia -Social and Behavioral Sciences. 2015;213:1057-1062. Available from: doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.11.525

Fan I, Lee R. A complexity framework on the study of knowledge flow, relational capital and innovation capability, In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management & Organisational Learning. 2009:115-123.

World Intellectual Property Organisation. WIPO Re:Search Guiding Principles. Available from: (Accessed 22 November 2017)

Krattiger A. Freedom to operate, public sector research and product-development partnerships: Strategies and risk-management options. In: Krattiger A, Mahoney RT, Nelsen L, et al (eds). Intellectual property management in health and agricultural innovation: A handbook of best practices. MIHR: Oxford, and PIPRA: Davis; 2007. Available from: (Accessed 22 November 2017)

Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases. Training and fellowships. Available from: (Accessed 22 November 2017)

Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative. Strengthening existing capacities. Annual Report 2011. Geneva:DNDi,2011. Available from:



  • There are currently no refbacks.
Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.