R&D capacity building model

GSK has a comprehensive model to build local R&D capacity in response to need.


  • What: GSK has a large number of partnerships with in-country research organisations in countries in scope of the Access to Medicine Index 2016, through which it targets identified R&D capacity building needs.
  • Objective: It aims to build local capacity to develop medicines in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Details: The model includes R&D expertise for a wide range of diseases, including Neglected Tropical Diseases and non-communicable diseases.
  • Scope: GSK builds R&D capacities across a number of regions, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

This lab in Ghana supported the trial of GSK’s malaria vaccine candidate.

Looking closer

GSK takes a comprehensive approach to partnering with in-country research organisations to build local R&D capacity. It has a large number of local R&D partnerships, compared to other companies in scope of the Access to Medicine Index 2016. For most partnerships, it identifies specific local skills gaps and designs partnerships to target identified needs.

For example, GSK shares its employees’ expertise with non-profit organisations through the PULSE Volunteer Partnership. In 2015, the PULSE programme supported the Rwanda Biomedical Centre -Medical Research Centre to assess skills and infrastructure gaps and build capacity related to conducting clinical trials locally: this is an identified priority of the Rwandan Ministry of Health to encourage local R&D.

Some partnerships are also long-term, which may better support the meeting of local needs than short-term projects. For example, the company is currently collaborating with the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) in Brazil to develop new medicines for Neglected Tropical Diseases, initially focusing on Chagas disease and leishmaniasis. This collaboration has been running for over five years, since 2010, and is ongoing in 2016. It further builds on a longer term relationship between the two parties, going back to 1985, to support research and manufacturing capacity building in Brazil.

Most companies measured by the Index partner with local research organisations to some extent, but it is unusual to have the number of partnerships that GSK demonstrates. It is also notable that most of those partnerships specifically target an identified gap in skills or infrastructure.

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