Fexinidazole: A Rediscovered Compound Progresses as a Preclinical Drug Candidate for HAT
In early 2007, DNDi advanced its first compound from discovery into preclinical development. Fexinidazole is a member of the nitroimidazoles class, which are well-known anti-infective compounds and which have previously shown activity against trypanosomes. This progression demonstrates the success of a unique approach taken by DNDi to build upon existing knowledge. Since 2005, an extensive compound mining effort was undertaken to explore new and old nitroimidazoles as drug leads against human African trypanosomiasis (HAT). Over 500 compounds from 15 different sources were identified, accessed, and tested, from which several drug leads and candidates could be selected. This could never have succeeded without the mobilisation of individual champions within research institutes and companies - these champions offered their own time and enthusiasm to help DNDi achieve its goals. The primary candidate coming out of these efforts is fexinidazole, currently in full preclinical development as an oral drug against both stages of HAT. It is expected that first-in-human, phase I studies could begin in 2009. If successful, this new drug could not only provide a true innovation for the patients suffering from HAT, but will demonstrate an innovative approach to drug development.
DNDi Participates at International Meeting on Chagas Disease
From 5 to 7 May 2008, Fondation Mérieux brought together leading international experts at a meeting entitled "Chagas Disease: a Public Health Threat in the Americas and Beyond".
The meeting addressed a variety of issues related to Chagas disease, including drug R&D and migratory flows. Isabela Ribeiro, Senior Project Manager of DNDi, made a presentation on DNDi's current strategy; and Rob Don and Julio Urbina both served as session chairs.
DNDi Awarded by the French Societé de Pathologie Exotique
At the occasion of the centenary celebration of the prestigious French Société de Pathologie Exotique (SPE), DNDi, represented by Marcel Tanner, chairman of DNDi's board of Directors, and Bernard Pecoul, its Executive Director, received on 21 June, at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, the Golden Medal Award given by SPE's President M. Pierre Ambroise Thomas.
Neglected by Everybody: PLoS NTD Publishes Media Analysis on Neglected Diseases
Although neglected diseases have long been analysed as failures in public policy and the market, no study evaluating the media coverage of neglected diseases had yet to be published, until the May 2008 online issue of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, in which the authors take a close look at the international media coverage of diseases like sleeping sickness and finds that journalists tend to overlook them. Also noted was a slight peak in articles around the time of DNDi's research appeal campaign calling for greater attention to neglected diseases.
Source: Balasegaram et al. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2008;2(5):e234.
DNDi Receives Goodwin Award for Its Social Entrepeneurial Approach for the Most Neglected
On 8 May 2008, the University of Siena awarded DNDi with a Goodwin Award for its innovative needs-driven approach in making 2 new antimalarials available as public goods, and in engaging public and private partners worldwide, especially in neglected disease-endemic countries, to ensure that the best science is made available for those neglected patients. The Goodwin Award, which is the first one of its kind, is given to entities that – through concrete actions and initiatives – have shown attention to the theme of well-being, and also takes an entrepreneurial approach into perspective. DNDi is one of 4 recipients of the Goodwin Award, which marks the 40th anniversary of the Richard Goodwin Faculty of Economics of the University of Siena and which was presented by Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stieglitz.