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The Influenza Vaccine Innovation System and Lessons for PDPs

Huzair, F

Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics   8 (3) 407-410

March 2012

As Product Development Partnerships (PDPs) emerge and evolve in response to the need for vaccines, this paper re-examines the oldest and most successful PDP in the vaccine field; that which year after year, produces and reinvents influenza vaccines. This paper describes the influenza vaccine production and innovation system and reviews some of its most recent major innovations. Innovation in this system is a result of collaborative partnerships between various actors from both the public and private sector. It is argued that the influenza vaccine innovation system is a Product Development Partnership (PDP), be it an unconventional one, with a central coordination role allocated to the WHO rather than a private company or charitable/not for profit entity. The unusual structure of this PDP overcomes some of the organizational issues surrounding vaccine research and production faced by other documented PDPs. These are first, the need to coordinate knowledge flow via an effective knowledge broker. Second, the need to build in-house capacity and fund essential research and elements of production where private partners find involvement too risky or costly.