$68.2 million for neglected diseases from Gates
September 2006:The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced grants worth US$68.2 million in September, to help accelerate research on neglected tropical diseases, including hookworm, leishmaniasis, and trypanosomiasis. The four grants include:
• $32m to Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), to develop a vaccine to treat leishmaniasis
• $13.8m to Sabin Vaccine Institute (SVI), to develop a vaccine for hookworm
• $21.3m to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), to develop drugs to treat late stages of trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis
• $1.1m to Public Library of Science (PLoS), to launch a new open-access, peer-reviewed medical journal on neglected diseases.
WHO boost for research on neglected diseases
The 192-member World Health Assembly adopted a resolution in May to create a strategy to support "needs-driven" research on diseases that particularly affect developing countries. In line with the findings of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health, the resolution acknowledges that although intellectual property rights provide an incentive for innovation, this is not enough to encourage companies to develop products to fight diseases that primarily affect the poor in developing countries. The WHO has convened a new intergovernmental working group the WHO Secetrariat on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property to identify priority areas for research and development and sources of funding. This group, open to all member countries, will be headed by Dr Howard Zucker, Assistant Director General for health technology and pharmaceuticals at WHO. The Executive Secretary will be Dr Elil Renganathan. Non-governmental organisations and experts are also expected to be invited to join the group.
Two new PDP-specific funding initiatives launched by Dutch and US governments
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs will award 4-year grants to public-private product development partnerships (PDPs) to promote the R&D of medicines, vaccines, and diagnostic aids for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria that are effective, safe, applicable and accessible for the poor population of developing countries. In a similar move, the US National Institutes for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) will support collaborative relationships with established PDPs to accelerate preclinical research and development of promising new preventive, therapeutic, or diagnostic tools for neglected diseases.
France launches air tax to fund drugs for poor
A group of countries led by France plan to raise at least $300 million next year, mostly through taxes on airline tickets, to help pay for the treatment of children with AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The countries, France, Brazil, Britain, Norway and Chile, acting through a new Geneva-based organization called Unitaid, plan to pool their buying power to help pay for the treatment of 100,000 children with AIDS, and another 100,000 people who have become resistant to antiretroviral AIDS drugs, as well as the treatment of 150,000 children with tuberculosis and 28 million with malaria.
DNDi fundraising news
• Swiss private Foundation grants DNDi 500,000CHF for 2006-2007 activities
• Canton of Geneva grants continued support of 400,000CHF to LEAP Paramomycin Clinical Trial
•Region of Tuscany grants 200,000 Euros for LEAP Paramomycin Clinical Trial
• Dutch government commits e 2.974 million to complete AS/AQ and AS/MQ projects, ensuring patient access to the 2 new ACTs