Case | HBS Case Collection | November 2009 (Revised January 2011)

International AIDS Vaccine Initiative

by Allen S. Grossman and Cathy Ross


Dedicated to accelerating the development of a safe, effective, accessible, preventive HIV vaccine, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) pioneered ways of addressing the inadequate incentive structures that prevented progress toward vaccines for AIDS and other diseases predominantly affecting poor populations in tropical countries. As an intermediary nonprofit organization, IAVI brought together partners with different perspectives and motivations from nonprofit, industry, government, and scientific research sectors toward developing vaccines. IAVI played several roles: honest broker, integrator, and communicator of knowledge regarding AIDS vaccine research; passionate advocate for AIDS vaccines at national and international levels; and coordinator and manager of research and development initiatives. In 2008, IAVI invested further in its own laboratories and research infrastructure, moving a step upstream in vaccine development partnerships and clinical research. How should IAVI manage tensions between what is necessary to achieve its mission and what is necessary to build new incentive structures that enable key actors to work together effectively?

Keywords: Developing Countries and Economies; Globalized Firms and Management; Health Care and Treatment; Health Disorders; Business and Government Relations; Partners and Partnerships; Research and Development; Social Enterprise; Health Industry;


Grossman, Allen S., and Cathy Ross. "International AIDS Vaccine Initiative." Harvard Business School Case 310-015, November 2009. (Revised January 2011.)