The Working Group developed and has utilized a systematic approach to data collection and collation since 2004. These methods were employed to generate the estimates of funding for R&D presented in this analysis.
Data Collection Methods and Fluctuation in Investment Levels
HIV prevention R&D investment figures are collected annually by the Resource Tracking for HIV Prevention R&D Working Group through an email survey. For the present report, the Working Group reached out from February to June 2020 to 215 funders in the public, philanthropic and commercial sectors and collected information on investments that the Group then allocated to HIV prevention R&D.
Two different types of resource flows were tracked: investments, defined as annual disbursements by funders; and, when available, expenditures, defined as the level of resources directly spent on R&D activities by funding recipients in a particular year. The main reasons for differentiating between these two resource flows were: (1) some funders may forward fund (i.e., disburse funding in one year to be expended over multiple years); (2) research projects may be delayed and (3) entities such as the increasingly important product development public-private partnerships (PDPs) often receive funds in one year but expend them over a period of time or may hold funds to sustain multiyear contracts. Investment figures were based on estimates of the level of funds disbursed each year and generated from the perspective of the funder. As such, funds were allocated to the year in which they were disbursed by the donor, irrespective of whether the funds were expended by the recipient in that year or in future years.
In order to minimize double-counting, the Working Group distinguished between primary funders and intermediary organizations. “Intermediary” organizations receive resources from multiple funders and use these resources to fund their own work as well as the work of others. All identified primary funders were categorized as public, (such as government research bodies, international development agencies and multilaterals), philanthropic, (such as foundations, charities and corporate donors) or commercial, (pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies) sector funders.
While limitations exist in developing a method for breaking down funding allocations by type of activity or stage of product development, the Working Group allocates resources into categories based on NIH definitions. As the largest funder of HIV prevention R&D and thus, with the majority of grants toward HIV prevention research allocated based on NIH definitions, this allows for the most accurate possible analysis of the largest portion of grants. For grants received outside of NIH funding, the allocation of funding was based on the information provided by the intermediaries or funders. When this information was not available, the Working Group reviewed the descriptions of the projects funded and, based on the description of each project, allocated the funds across the expenditure categories.
All figures in the report are given in current US dollars and have not been adjusted for inflation. Funding information in other currencies was converted into US dollars using the appropriate International Monetary Fund (IMF) annual average exchange rate for July 1, 2019, except for those funds where we had access to the actual rate received.
Every effort was made to obtain a comprehensive set of data that was comparable across organizations and countries. However, the data presented in this report are subject to a number of limitations:
- Requests for information were directed to all public, philanthropic and commercial organizations identified as providing funding for HIV prevention R&D. However, not all entities contacted responded or provided financial information with their response. For the private sector, annual investments and funding estimates were extrapolated based on qualitative data collection on R&D programs and expert opinions.
- The Working Group provides R&D allocation definitions in the survey sent to funders. However, most funders and intermediary organizations do not break down their expenditures and investments by type of activity or stage of product development, and definitions often vary among funders.
- The Working Group attempted to reduce the potential for double-counting and to distinguish between funders and recipients of funding. However, all financial information is “self-reported” by organizations and not independently verified.
Data Collection Categories
- Preventive HIV vaccines
- Multipurpose prevention technologies
- Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)
- Treatment as prevention (TasP)
- Male circumcision
- Female condom
- Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT)
- HIV cure
- Therapeutic AIDS vaccines