Institution was awarded for innovative cooperation model for developing antimalarial in Brazil
The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) received the FINEP Award for Innovation in Social Technology on 5 November 2014. The award was in recognition of an innovative Research & Development (R&D) model that has delivered a new antimalarial drug developed in Brazil. The drug is now also being produced in India thanks to a technology transfer from Brazil. The findings of a recent study released this month also revealed the treatment potential for children of five years of age and younger in Africa.
The consortium developing the antimalarial ASMQ, a collaboration between DNDi and the pharmaceutical company Farmanguinhos/Fiocruz, joined forces with several partners to operate as a connected, virtual laboratory. A broad range of partners – including research institutions, national malaria control programmes, regulatory agencies, the pharmaceutical industry, non-profit organisations and international organisations – brought together transformational components to strengthen developing countries’ capability to respond to their own health challenges.
“The FINEP Award is in recognition of an innovative management model capable of transforming the lives of millions worldwide suffering from neglected diseases by researching and developing new treatments,” said Eric Stobbaerts, Executive Director, DNDi Latin America. “This model, which focuses on the needs of patients rather than on market logic, operates through strong partnerships with industry, civil society and governments,” he added.
The FINEP Award for Innovation is given to institutions, companies and individuals in recognition and encouragement of initiatives, products and projects developed in Brazil that have contributed to local development through innovation. Created in 1998, the award covers both a regional and a national scope.
ASMQ – a fixed dose combination of artesunate and mefloquine providing a simpler treatment for P.falciparum malaria – was registered in Brazil as a non-patented, public good in 2008. A South-South technology transfer between Farmanguinhos and Cipla, India, was achieved in 2010 and facilitates the implementation of ASMQ worldwide. The drug has also been included on the World Health Organisation (WHO) Essential Medicines Lists for adults and children. In Africa, recent study findings reveal the potential for using ASMQ to treat malaria in children of five-years old or younger across the African continent.
Since the year 2000, remarkable progress has been made in the fight against malaria. However, the WHO estimates that incidence remains high at 207 million cases per year, and that 627 thousand deaths are attributable to the disease, 86% of which are of children under five. In the Americas, the number of malaria cases is estimated at 1.1 million, with 1,100 deaths attributed to the disease, 29% of which are children under the age of five.
About DNDi Latin America
The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a not-for-profit research and development (R&D) organisation working to deliver treatments for neglected diseases, in particular Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, African sleeping sickness, filariasis, and paediatric HIV. Since its inception in 2003, DNDi has delivered six new treatments, including two in Brazil: a paediatric formulation of benznidazole for Chagas disease and the fixed-dose antimalarial ASMQ. DNDi was founded 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 WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) as a permanent observer.
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