5-Year Grant Awarded to DNDi to Advance Research and Development for Neglected Diseases
The UK Department for International Development (DFID) has announced its renewed support to the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), allocating a total of £ 30 million (€ 35 million) over the coming five years (2013-2018) to DNDi’s Research & Development (R&D) portfolio to fight neglected diseases. This grant is part of DFID’s larger investment of £138 million in nine product development partnerships (PPDs), including DNDi, for the development of new health tools to address poverty-related diseases.
After a first grant to DNDi from 2006-2008, followed by another from 2009-2013, DFID has played a key role in the achievements of the not-for-profit R&D organization. DNDi’s R&D efforts focus on neglected diseases such as sleeping sickness (or human African trypanosomiasis), leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, specific filarial diseases (onchocerciasis, elephantiasis, Loa loa filariasis), and malaria. In its first 10 years of existence, DNDi and its partners have developed and made available six improved treatments to patients: two malaria fixed-dose combinations, one sleeping sickness combination therapy, one combination therapy for visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in East Africa, a set of treatment modalities for VL in Asia, and one paediatric dosage form for Chagas disease.
Over the next five years, DNDi and its partners will continue to develop improved treatments based on existing drugs and work to ensure access to them in order to address the most pressing needs of neglected patients. Furthermore, DNDi’s portfolio includes 11 new chemical entities (NCEs) in preclinical or clinical development with the potential of becoming innovative treatments adapted to the needs of neglected patients, that is to say oral, safe, short-course, effective, field-adapted, and affordable.
‘DFID’s major long-term commitment to working with and supporting partnership models is key to our work and successes. This grant is a tremendous boost for the new compounds that we are bringing through the R&D pipeline. At this stage of maturity of our portfolio, solid funding and partnership count more than ever’, comments Dr Bernard Pécoul, Executive Director of DNDi. ‘DFID’s support allows us to pursue R&D for treatments that are needed to address the reduction of the global neglected disease burden and to improve the quality of life of patients.’
As an essential part of its partnership model, DNDi reinforces research capacities in neglected disease-endemic regions via disease specific clinical research platforms. Key to the sustainable development of in-country scientific capacity, these platforms serve to define patients’ needs, reinforce local expertise, conduct clinical trials, and facilitate registration and uptake of new treatments for neglected diseases. Globally, DNDi brings together a broad range and growing number of public and private partners, each contributing its particular expertise to deliver new health tools for neglected diseases.
‘Working together in product development partnerships, the public and private sectors have a chance to bring together their expertise for the benefit of millions of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people’, said the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development, Honorable Justine Greening.
Press & Communications Manager, DNDi
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The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a not-for-profit research and development (R&D) organization working to deliver new treatments for the most neglected diseases, in particular sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis), Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, malaria, filaria, and paediatric HIV/AIDS. More than one billion people, including 500 million children, are affected by neglected tropical diseases in very poor and remote areas in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Since its inception in 2003, DNDi has delivered six new treatments: two fixed-dose antimalarials (ASAQ and ASMQ), nifurtimox-eflornithine combination therapy (NECT) for late-stage sleeping sickness, sodium stibogluconate and paromomycin (SSG&PM) combination therapy for visceral leishmaniasis in Africa, a set of combination therapies for visceral leishmaniasis in Asia, and a paediatric dosage form of benznidazole for Chagas disease.
DNDi was established by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Indian Council of Medical Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Ministry of Health of Malaysia, and Institut Pasteur in France, with the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (WHO/TDR) as a permanent observer.
DNDi has helped establish three clinical research platforms: Leishmaniasis East Africa Platform (LEAP) in Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Uganda; the HAT Platform based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for sleeping sickness; and the Chagas Clinical Research Platform in Latin America. Strong regional networks such as these help strengthen research and treatment-implementation capacity in neglected disease-endemic countries.
About ‘Connect to Fight Neglect’
As part of its 10th anniversary, DNDi has launched a special advocacy website to give voice and attention to neglected patients and those working to develop and deliver life-saving treatments for them. The ‘Connect to Fight Neglect’ website is a multimedia web portal where videos, photos, audio, testimonials, stories, and opinions can be shared about some of the world’s most neglected diseases, the people whose lives are diminished and threatened by these conditions, and the research and care efforts under way around the world. Among the people featured are patients, doctors, researchers, public health officials, policymakers, funders, and activists.