In the last 20 years, two thirds of all new vaccines provided worldwide have been produced by a US network of independent industrial, governmental, and academic partners engaged in vaccine research and development. Vaccines are complex products and the science of vaccinology is difficult. To achieve the full promise of modern science and technology to prevent and treat disease by immunization, the delicate fabric of America's cooperative and collaborative vaccine research relationships must be sustained and strengthened. The major partners are the federal government; four large companies—two US–headquartered (Wyeth-Lederle Biologics and Vaccines and Merck & Co), two foreign firms (SmithKline Beecham and Pasteur Mérieux Connaught); and academia. Of the $1.4 billion that fund US vaccine research and development annually, 46% comes from vaccine sales, 36% from taxpayers, and 18% from risk capital. Vaccine innovation could be strengthened by improved public and policy maker understanding of the vaccine development network; declarations of partnership; interactive dialog with federal advisory bodies; public forums for government and industry to listen to patients, providers, and researchers; sabbatical assignments between partners; mechanisms to share industries' market research with public immunization programs; continued active industry participation in the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the National Vaccine Advisory Committee; increased collaboration between industry and the National Institutes of Health for clinical research; harmonization of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices vaccine recommendations and the Food and Drug Administration package inserts; and public policies to foster the partnership's collaboration and robustness. The optimal size and configuration of the US vaccine enterprise should be debated only in the context of a full understanding of how the current system works and its record of effectiveness. These National Vaccine Advisory Committee recommendations are directed at developing public policies to foster and sustain vaccine innovation and ensure the timely introduction and supply of new vaccines needed by this nation and the world.

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