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Raj Sharma
CEO PSF | Govshop
John Dickerson
Assistant Professor of Computer Science,
University of Maryland | Advisor, GovShop

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, governments, foundations, and funders around the world are working tirelessly to address a myriad of public health, epidemiological, and economic challenges confronting their communities and the world. Any solution to these complex challenges is likely to require rapid identification of and collaboration with an ecosystem of partners including private sector companies, academic and non-profit institutions, and experts from all over the world.

As a global supplier intelligence and public procurement platform focused on helping governments solve critical problems through “open government markets”, Public Spend Forum has been compiling data on over 1.6 million companies and over 180 million data points to address exactly the challenge we face today. Our datasets are being continually developed to help governments rapidly identify and engage a global ecosystem of companies and experts. The data is provided through our online platform GovShop.

The purpose of this article is to highlight, through an example on vaccines and therapeutics, how leaders can use our data to ensure the right suppliers and experts are selected and mobilized to address the challenges the world faces due to Covid-19 without losing essential time.

Work in Progress

We acknowledge that this analysis may be incomplete. However, we decided it was important to share it as early as possible as every day matters in the fight against this pandemic. We will be making parts of the data available as we validate it.

We need your help
Please contact us if you would like to offer any input or gain access to the dataset as we release it in full


Vaccines and Therapeutics for Coronaviruses and Infectious Diseases

In order to provide a relevant example and actionable data pertaining to suppliers and experts, we chose the market for vaccines and therapeutics for coronaviruses and infectious diseases. This area seemed ripe to address, among others, as several government contracts have recently been issued in the area to firms like Janssen Research, Sanofi, and Medicago while other efforts are rapidly being mobilized like one for a Vaccine Manufacturing Innovation Institute.

Data Points

Problem Statement

In order to quickly identify an initial set of companies and experts (in as short as one day), we first defined a problem statement within which we defined the primary goal as one to accelerate the development of vaccines and therapeutics. Given that we believe solutions may exist in related areas that could be exploited for coronaviruses, we decided to take a broad approach that addresses vaccines and therapeutics for coronaviruses as well as infectious diseases, influenza and respiratory diseases, leaving it to the experts to narrow down or expand the data related to suppliers.

Outside of the scope of understanding potential suppliers, we identified several issues that drive the need for identifying a global ecosystem of experts. These include:

Lack of awareness
Lack of awareness of parties that are currently involved in virus research and vaccine development
Unfamiliarity with best practices
Unfamiliarity with best practices deployed by peer organizations during previous viral outbreaks
Poor communication
Poor communication between domestic and international government agencies, as well as between domestic and international virology laboratories and research institutes
Lack of financial and human resources
Lack of financial and human resources to support research and development and policy implementation

Analysis of Suppliers and Experts

To address the scope and issues highlighted in the problem statement, we divided our analysis into two areas:

  1. Identification of qualified suppliers, including those already funded by the U.S. federal government, those funded through innovation programs such as SBIR, and other global companies with potential capabilities.
  2. Identification of experts within the entire ecosystem of vaccine development and therapeutics so the right people can be mobilized by leaders at all levels of government.

To identify a comprehensive list of qualified suppliers, we analyzed over 1.6 million suppliers within GovShop, using our machine learning algorithms to pinpoint suppliers with experience in development of vaccines and therapeutics. In less than a day, we were able to narrow down our results to 600 companies with demonstrated expertise in coronaviruses and infectious diseases.

We are continuing to further validate these 600 companies. But we already know some interesting facts such as:

  • Several companies have been recently awarded contracts to specifically address Covid-19
  • 60+ companies, of the total 600, have been funded previously through the U.S. government Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) program. This means that these companies are pre-qualified and may have some potential solutions already in the pipeline.

Data Analysis Approach covid-19

Data Analysis Approach covid-19
GovShop Ecosystem data compiled from multiple sources.
Analysis performed by Public Spend Forum with support from Censeo Consulting Group
GovShop data from hundreds of sources. Analysis performed by Public Spend Forum with support from Censeo Consulting Group

To help identify a global ecosystem of experts and practitioners within the field of vaccine development, therapeutics and infectious diseases, we applied our algorithms to analyze over 180 million data points. Through the analysis, we were able create a list of 8,000 global experts from across academia, government organizations, healthcare, and other sectors with relevant expertise. Moving forward, we expect to narrow down this population to a shorter list of 2,000-5,000 experts. Mobilizing even a subsection of such a global network can lead to enormous possibilities and rapid breakthrough solutions.

A deeper look into U.S. Government funded companies through the Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) program

As one part of our analysis, we reviewed the awards made by various U.S. federal agencies through the SBIR program. Given the SBIR program’s objectives to stimulate technological innovation and accelerate commercialization, this particular segment of data is important because it provides a potential set of companies already reviewed by the government.

Total SBIR
Number of

From the entire list of 600 companies, we identified 66 companies that had previously received SBIR awards in vaccine and therapeutics development. These companies received 101 awards for a total of $76 million. Some examples of companies and projects funded are included in the table that follows.

Examples of Companies with Relevant SBIR Awards

Deeper review by domain experts can help further narrow down these companies where potentially relevant solutions or parallel capabilities may exist.

Top States and Number of companies

We also reviewed where the companies are located by state and the total funding received. The goal here was to understand whether there was a concentration of companies in a certain region that could potentially collaborate. California stood out with 23 of the 66 companies with Maryland and Massachusetts as second.

Number of Companies and $ Awarded, by State

Number of Companies and $ Awarded, by State
SBIR data within GovShop.
Analysis performed by Public Spend Forum with support from Censeo Consulting Group
SBIR data within GovShop. Analysis performed by Public Spend Forum with support from Censeo Consulting Group

Companies recently receiving awards for Coronavirus Vaccines

We also identified companies that have recently received awards or have announced self-funded initiatives to develop coronavirus vaccines. The table below contains a running list that we will continue to update and include as part of our research.

Mapping the Global Ecosystem of Experts on Vaccines, Therapeutics, Epidemiology, and the Spread of Infectious Diseases

Mobilizing an ecosystem of partners and experts for any complex problem is critical to solving a known problem in an accelerated and efficient manner. The collective knowledge as well as the solutions/approaches that may be driven can lead to breakthroughs that may not be imaginable by any one organization or person.

With that in mind, we started to identify and map out the “experts” across the field of vaccine and therapeutics development as well as epidemiology and the spread of infectious diseases. To do this, we ran the problem statement we had defined against 180 million datapoints.

The result - we ended up with almost 8,000 experts ranked in order of match, based on the problem statement topics we had defined. We divided the experts into three groups: private sector, academia, and government. We continue to cull through the list and expect it to be shortened but still significant in terms of mobilizing a community of experts.

Below, we highlight just a few of the experts we matched on a global map. We expect to continue to fill out this map and provide it as an open resource for the global community so we can quickly tap into the collective expertise and knowledge resident throughout the world.

COVID-19 Experts
We ended up with almost 8000 experts as a starting point, rank ordered through our machine algorithms, based on match with the topics we had defined
GovShop Ecosystem data compiled from multiple sources.
Analysis performed by Public Spend Forum with support from Censeo Consulting Group

A Few Examples of Experts

Conclusions and Next Steps

As a society, we are in a race against a raging pandemic that is overtaking all aspects of life across the world. Time is of the essence as we mobilize the global community.

The preceding market research on vaccines and therapeutics is just a glimpse into how quickly, in a matter of a few hours to a few days, we can use machine learning to identify companies and ecosystem partners. We can move from our silos to engaging the right “players’.

The same approach can be applied against any problem statement in terms of the range of challenges we face related to Covid-19. We will continue to update our analysis and release data as we process it. In the meantime, please contact us directly if you would like further access to the data, have any comments/questions, or would like to apply the data to a specific procurement or use case

We can help with your research
Please contact us if you would like more information or access to this dataset or would like assistance with other COVID-19 market research