ESAC 5 was convened to provide expert scientific, technical, regulatory and commercial advice to the Zika Grand Challenges Projects. The Committee has met twice a year since the projects’ inception. Initially, ESAC 5 were involved in establishing the Target Product Profiles (TPPs) for each project, together with the Principal Investigators. At ESAC 5 meetings, each project’s progress towards achieving the TPP was discussed between the project and ESAC 5, and guidance given.
Where relevant, ESAC 5 have arranged for extra support from consultants, especially on regulatory, toxicology and economic/commercial aspects. ESAC 5 have also suggested and established introductions to potential commercial partners.
The Zika Grand Challenge programme benefitted from a no-cost extension until September 2019. The program concluded with final reports and recommendations to the projects and to USAID. Proof of Concept was successfully demonstrated for the majority of the projects, fulfilling the aims of the Zika Grand Challenge programme.
IVCC was able to add substantial value, including in checking the integrity of research and evaluation plans to ensure clear outcomes, proposing ways to speed up or reduce costs of research and evaluation, and ensuring projects were targeting their outcomes to viable products. At IVCC we also helped identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to maximise the probability of success and mitigate risks, and brought together potential partner and collaborator organisations. Once products were viable we helped determine relevant safety and regulatory considerations, and guided partners on how best to commercialise the technology and enter the market.
At the conclusion of the Zika Grand Challenge programme, IVCC secured supplemental funding for two of the projects, RNAi Natural Yeast-Based Larvicides, and VectorWEB Smart Trap, to complete work on their Zika Grand Challenge goals. Furthermore IVCC has identified potential in a number of the Zika Grand Challenge projects against adult Anopheles mosquitoes which transmit malaria. Five of the projects have now been re-purposed for malaria, and IVCC has secured substantial additional funding for each of them.