Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics
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FIND (Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics) is a not-for-profit foundation whose aim is to provide innovative and affordable diagnostic products for all levels of the health care system in developing countries.
FIND's main function lies in creating sustainable partnerships and providing the necessary expertise, capacity and facilities needed to drive the R&D process. Most importantly, they ensure that the diagnostic technologies developed with their partners are made available in high burden countries. Following WHO endorsement, they work with partners in order to collect evidence for scale-up and to support the widespread implementation of these tools.
The Foundation does not own manufacturing facilities, clinical trial sites, reference laboratories or laboratories for quality control, has no capabilities for storage of biological reference materials and is not involved in any marketing and sales beyond the initial negotiating of price reductions for co-developed technologies. The design, development, manufacture, evaluation and demonstration of these tools are achieved entirely through their trial site partners, in collaboration with industry.
FIND headquarters are located in Geneva (Switzerland), with offices in Kampala (Uganda) and New Delhi (India). In 2011, FIND was recognized as an “Other International Organization” by the Swiss Government, alongside DNDi and Medicines for Malaria Venture.
Launched at a meeting of the World Health Assembly in 2003, FIND was created in order to bring diagnostic solutions to the very societies where treatable diseases are rampant and where poverty and poor health are closely intertwined.
With an initial five-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, FIND set out to develop diagnostic approaches that have been proven in principle and to transform them into effective products for identifying TB – in partnership with academia, public and private research institutes and industry.
In 2011, FIND’s Board approved a further expansion of focus to other diseases – such as HIV/AIDS, leishmaniasis and Chagas disease – in instances where there is a clear link to existing disease programmes and technological platforms. In 2006, FIND also started working on strengthening laboratories in disease-endemic countries, and working with partners to roll-out FIND-developed technologies.
FIND focuses mainly on tuberculosis, malaria and acute febrile syndrome, sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis, HAT) and other neglected diseases such as leishmaniasis and Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis).
- Disease expert: understanding patients’ current diagnostic options and needs in endemic countries, as well as the potential market for new products
- Innovator: identifying and encouraging potential diagnostic breakthroughs that could have applications in the developing world
- Catalyst: building and sustaining effective partnerships with key stakeholders – donors, industry, national governments, health agencies, academic centres and civil society
- Technology incubator: pulling in the best ideas to build diagnostic technology platforms that can be applied across a range of disease.
- Product development strategist: developing the product concept based on patient needs, recruiting the essential partners and applying the right business model and approaches – including on intellectual property issues – to ensure successful market delivery at the lowest possible price
- Evaluator: assessing the performance through field trials and other performance measurements, presenting results to the WHO for policy evaluation and collaborating with public health authorities to demonstrate the feasibility and impact on patients and disease control programmes
In-country facilitator: working closely with local authorities on how to introduce new tools into existing systems, and supporting them to upgrade their laboratories, strengthen their technical capacity and roll-out new technologies.
Research and development
FIND supports the R&D of promising reagents and technology platforms and oversees their evaluation and demonstration in both laboratory and field trials. FIND also collaborates with public health authorities in developing countries to demonstrate the feasibility and programmatic impact of new technologies on patients and disease control programmes. New products are then submitted to WHO's Strategic and Technical Advisory Group (STAG) for assessment.
In 2006, FIND and partners also started working on laboratory strengthening and implementation of WHO-approved diagnostic technologies in disease-endemic countries, in accordance with WHO policy recommendations.
FIND has active collaborations with over 150 partners, including ministries of health, bilateral and multilateral organizations, research and academic institutes, commercial partners, NGOs and over 80 clinical trial sites.
Since its establishment, FIND has relied on key partnerships to address the challenges of both research and development (R&D) for poverty-related diseases. FIND act as a bridge between the public and private sectors and our unique position allows them to bring together a diverse set of partners, helping to resolve technical, financial and logistical barriers to innovation while keeping the focus on the development of safe and effective diagnostic tests for low-resource settings. FIND combines specific skills and resources from each project partner in order to achieve greatest impact as quickly as possible.
FIND's partners include: Commercial companies, which have the technological know-how, but may not have the financial incentives necessary to invest heavily in poverty-related diseases, nor a deep understanding of the disease-causing agents Academic world, which is often focused on basic research and conceptual innovation, but is ill-equipped for product development International public health organizations and various NGOs and foundations, which play a major role in access to diagnostic products in endemic country markets Public donors or philanthropic organizations, which provide essential funding but are not implementers, and Ministries of health and disease control programmes, which manage healthcare systems in endemic countries but do not develop the technologies. However, we do not focus just on product development. To ensure that our co-developed products have the intended impact for national health programmes and people in village communities, we also support early implementation through laboratory strengthening and the roll out of new diagnostic tools in remote endemic areas.
FIND is financed by both the private and public sectors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Government of the Netherlands, the European Union, UNITAID, UK Department for International Development, National Institutes of Health and others.
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