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Medicines for Malaria Venture: Access Issues Strategic Planning

Case Overview

Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) asked FSG to revise its business plan to clarify its strategy for existing and potential funders, articulate its role regarding access to the drugs that it develops and share plans for its emerging drug portfolio.

The Challenge

MMV had just completed its “start up” phase and faced pressure from funders to be more specific in its operations and objectives. A new model was needed to justify the anticipated funding levels required to reach targets for new drug development. Funders especially wanted to know how MMV would balance its continued focus on drug development with a need to ensure that new drugs would ultimately reach patients.

Approach & Solutions

FSG completed a full review of the malaria landscape, including funding streams and other organizations involved with drug development, vaccines, prevention and research activities. To better understand MMV's current responsibilities and future development priorities, FSG interviewed all staff and a scientific advisory board. External stakeholders in drug development and delivery were also interviewed, and extensive secondary research was conducted.

MMV's original business plan focused on drug discovery and development activities, and FSG found that since 1999, it had made great progress in this core activity area. Stakeholders viewed MMV as the preeminent organization associated with affordable antimalarial drug development – capturing 44% of the available funding. MMV's key contributions were its ability to select the most promising discovery and development projects and increase their chance of eventual success through active portfolio management. FSG developed a model to project the number of projects MMV needed to add to its portfolio given the number of drugs it hoped to create, and the funding needed to sustain those projects.

MMV’s contribution beyond core drug discovery and development was limited. Critical upstream groundwork and downstream access were as important as the research and development activities themselves to bring about drug health impact. While MMV and its global health partners were already engaging in some of the upstream activities in preparation for drug discovery and development work, the revised business plan provided a new perspective on where it could best complement other global health actors to ensure that key downstream access activities were undertaken.

MMV's revised strategic plan served as both a roadmap for future success as well as an important marketing document to attract further funding.

About MMV

MMV is a nonprofit foundation created to discover, develop and deliver new antimalarial drugs. Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Geneva, MMV receives public and philanthropic funding to support the drug discovery and development efforts of its partners in academia and the pharmaceutical industry.

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