R&D plan announced for drugs for neglected diseases

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative has announced that it aims to spend €650m to deliver treatments for up to 10 diseases. In the image, tsetse mosquitos pictured on a researcher's hand are responsible for the African sleeping sickness

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, a non-profit research and development organisation, has announced that it aims to spend €650m over the next eight years to deliver 16–18 treatments for up to ten diseases.

It will continue to prioritise leishmaniasis, African sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, paediatric HIV and filarial infections. It will also launch new research and development projects for hepatitis C and mycetoma in a bid to try and deliver safe and effective quality products that are affordable to poor populations.

“DNDi will remain focused on reaching treatment targets for the most neglected diseases, but we are now in a position to apply news R&D models, where patient needs drive drug development over profits, and where prices of drugs are delinked from the cost of their development,” says Bernard Pécoul, DNDi executive director.

The group, which works in partnership with industry, public institutions, academia and non-governmental organisations, says the high cost of new drugs “has become one of the world’s most pressing and high-profile public challenges, leaving millions of patients behind”.

In its pursuit of an affordable hepatitis C drug, DNDi says it will conduct clinical trials for drug combinations consisting of recently approved therapies and clinical stage compounds in middle-income countries.

DNDi has made six treatments available since its inception in 2003, including two fixed-dose antimalaria combination therapies (ASAQ and ASMQ), nifurtimox-eflornithine combination therapy for late-stage sleeping sickness, sodium stibogluconate and paromomycin combination therapy for visceral leishmaniasis in Africa, and a paediatric dosage form of benznidazole for Chagas disease.

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Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, September 2015;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20069358