Industry Engagement

The search for an HIV vaccine has benefited greatly from participation of the private sector. In fact, industry sponsorship has been critical for most vaccine candidates that have moved forward into efficacy trials. Yet there continue to be significant challenges for companies to participate in HIV vaccine R&D, especially at the research-to-development stage, when their contribution would be particularly impactful, even though such collaborations would distinctly and ultimately benefit public and private priorities. 

Given the risk and uncertainty associated with discovery of an HIV vaccine, new and novel public-private initiatives will probably be necessary. So, working with the private sector is an Enterprise priority. With company input and direction, the Secretariat convened an Industry Think Tank in September 2014 to reevaluate the strategies and interfaces between the private and public sectors for developing an effective HIV vaccine.

Meeting objectives included:

  • Clarify understanding of roles, strengths and limitations of different contributors
  • Determine how to leverage industry experience and expertise, and maximize collaboration
  • Consider the relevance of successful processes and practices that have been used for developing other vaccines/products
  • Explore how to optimize the design and development process in collaborations across multiple sectors and stakeholders
  • Begin to develop a collective end to end product development vision with common understanding of roles, opportunities and issues

Engaging companies early on in an end-to-end effort (from discovery through deployment) is a desired goal for the various partners in the HIV vaccine field, but enabling conditions are not well in place.

During the Think Tank, there was a great deal of discussion about getting those outside industry to understand industry’s capabilities, needs, and limitations. There needs to be increased awareness, greater understanding and better communication between industry and academia all along the vaccine development pathway. Appreciation of the ways in which the industry develops products on tight budgets and timelines has potential to help accelerate HIV vaccine development and facilitate public-private partnership. The meeting identified a few opportunities that, with sufficient commitment and support, might be moved forward.

Support and participation from industry, where a more integrated research and development approach is the norm, could be transformative. Many believe that this perspective would lead to better incorporation and emphasis on development pathways, enabling better selection of candidates, more effective longer-term planning and preparation, and smoother transition between development phases. 

To encourage understanding and wider use of the product development mind-set and methods, in 2015, Enterprise Timely Topics will concentrate on educating scientists, academics and funders about how the vaccine industry works, and how business techniques can help them bring ideas into the clinic, culminating in a Product Development Boot Camp in partnership with SHI Consulting later in the year.


  • Hanneke Schuitemaker and Jerry Sadoff (Crucell/J&J)
  • Gerald Voss and Marguerite Koutsoukos (GSK)
  • Mark Feinberg (Merck)
  • Susan Barnett, Amin Khan and Rino Rappuoli (Novartis)
  • Jim Tartaglia and Sanjay Phogat (Sanofi Pasteur)
  • Margie McGlynn and Labeeb Abboud (IAVI)
  • Mary Marovich (NIAID)
  • Peter Kim (Stanford)
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