Chair of the Board
Dr Marie-Paule Kieny
Chair of the Board
Twenty years ago, it was shocking neglect – patients and health workers faced with medicines that were ineffective, unsafe, priced out of reach, or simply never developed at all – that led to DNDi’s creation.
In 2003, our founding partners established DNDi, determined that a collaborative model of not-for-profit pharmaceutical R&D can deliver for neglected patients.
We have since been joined by hundreds of dedicated R&D partners and supporters from around the world. Together, we have proven what is possible. We have delivered 12 affordable new treatments for six deadly diseases that have saved millions of lives. We have established five research platforms that are driving scientific and medical progress in countries and communities most affected by neglected diseases. We have built a robust R&D pipeline that is set to deliver additional life-saving innovations over the years to come. And using lessons from our experience, we have pushed for the policy and political commitments needed to ensure all people can benefit from the fruits of scientific progress.
In 2022, our partnerships continued on our path of progress.
Staying true to our mission from the beginning, our teams and allies in Eastern Africa and South Asia made great strides in our work against leishmaniasis. With evidence from our research, the World Health Organization recommended a more effective new treatment for people with visceral leishmaniasis who are also living with HIV. And our trial conducted with AfriKADIA Consortium partners in Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Uganda showed that a shorter, safer new treatment for visceral leishmaniasis in Eastern Africa was just as effective as current treatment.
In another research milestone, DNDi’s pivotal Phase II/III trial conducted with partners in the DRC and Guinea showed that our investigational single-dose oral treatment for sleeping sickness, acoziborole, can cure up to 95% of patients. This brings us one step closer to delivering a break-through treatment that can help boost chances of sustainably eliminating this deadly disease.
We are proud of the progress our partnerships are making against these and other diseases that disproportionally impact poor and marginalized communities. But at the same time, we face growing concern that insufficient investment in medical innovation puts continued progress at serious risk. At the June Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), we spoke out loudly for putting innovation at the top of the NTD agenda and called for concrete commitments to filling the gaps in simple, safe, and effective essential health tools.
In 2022, we celebrated South Africa’s leading role as the first country to grant regulatory approval for our strawberry-flavoured ‘4-in-1’ combination treatment for infants and young children living with HIV.
We also added dengue to our R&D portfolio – and launched the Dengue Alliance, a bold new partnership of science leaders from Brazil, India, Malaysia, and Thailand working to drive South-South collaboration and consolidate expertise and political commitment across endemic countries to identify a cure for this rapidly spreading climate-sensitive disease. Our strategic objectives in dengue are a critical facet of DNDi’s cross-cutting commitment to confronting climate change.
For all our colleagues, supporters, and allies who worked by his side, 2022 was also momentous for the fond farewell we bid to DNDi Founder Dr Bernard Pécoul upon his retirement. As Executive Director from 2003 to 2022, Bernard prized the commitment of every partner who makes DNDi’s ‘experiment in innovation’ possible. At every decision point in our organization’s history, he put patients and their needs above all else. We are grateful for the exemplary compassion, determination, and wisdom that Bernard shared with us all and congratulate him on his outstanding achievements over decades of service.
We thank our partners, supporters, and staff for their tremendous contributions to making DNDi’s first 20 years such a collective success, and we look forward to your continued commitment to bringing the best science for the most neglected.
DR BERNARD PÉCOUL
DNDi Founder & Executive Director 2003-2022
Bernard began his rich career of service as a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) doctor in 1983, working in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. He later served as Executive Director of MSF France and as Director of the MSF Access Campaign before founding DNDi in 2003. He is a recipient of the Prince Mahidol Award in the field of public health (2020) and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Clara Southmayd Ludlow Medal (2022).
Under Bernard’s leadership over two decades, DNDi grew from a small collective of seven founding partners and four staff to a global not-for-profit research and development organization with hundreds of public and private partners and activities on five continents. During his tenure, DNDi delivered 12 new treatments for 6 deadly diseases and proved that an alternative, collaborative model of R&D can deliver to meet neglected patients’ needs.
Bernard’s legacy of commitment will inspire action and guide our work at DNDi for years to come.
As we continue our mission to bring the best science for the most neglected, we thank Bernard for his visionary leadership and steadfast dedication to DNDi and the people we serve.
Photo credits: Manon Voland-DNDi; Ariane Mawaffo-DNDi
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