The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) announced today the appointment of Dr Marie-Paule Kieny as the new Chair of the Board of Directors. Dr Kieny, a former World Health Organization (WHO) Assistant Director-General, brings more than four decades of experience in public health and innovation to DNDi’s work in developing new treatments for neglected patients. Until July 2017, Dr Kieny led WHO’s Health Systems and Innovation cluster. During her career at WHO, she also led its Innovation, Information, Evidence and Research Cluster, directed the WHO Initiative for Vaccine Research and led the organization’s activities on Ebola and Zika research, as well as the preparation of an R&D Blueprint to accelerate global preparedness for future pandemics. Before joining WHO in 2001, Dr Kieny was Director of Research at the Institute of Virology, Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale in Paris (INSERM) and Assistant Scientific Director of French biopharmaceutical company Transgene SA.
“DNDi has proven the value of alternative innovation models by delivering for neglected patients, through strong partnerships with pharmaceutical industry and public actors,” said Dr Kieny. “I look forward to taking on the challenge of building on this positive dynamic, and in guiding DNDi both in realizing its ambitious objectives of delivering new treatments, and in ensuring the organization remains focused and successful in a constantly changing environment.”
Dr Kieny succeeds Prof. Marcel Tanner, Professor and Chair of Epidemiology and Medical Parasitology at the University of Basel and at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, who steps down from his role after ten successful years. As Chair of the DNDi Board of Directors from 2007 to 2017, Prof. Tanner oversaw the organization’s implementation of seven new treatments for malaria and neglected tropical diseases, the expansion of its R&D portfolio to include mycetoma, paediatric HIV, and hepatitis C, and the launch in 2016 of the Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership (GARDP), a joint initiative with WHO to develop new treatments for drug-resistant infections.
“DNDi today has a highly promising pipeline across all the diseases in its portfolio – overseeing this has been highly challenging and extremely rewarding. It is with great confidence in the future that I hand over this responsibility to Marie-Paule,” said Prof. Tanner.
“Marcel took on the role with boundless energy and enthusiasm, and a singular focus on ensuring DNDi delivers for neglected patients,” said Dr Bernard Pécoul, DNDi Executive Director. “I look forward to working as closely with Marie-Paule in the years to come.”
The DNDi Board of Directors also welcomes a new member, Suerie Moon, Director of Research at the Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute, Geneva and adjunct Lecturer on Global Health at the Harvard School of Public Health, and former Study Director of the Harvard-LSHTM Independent Panel on the Global Response to Ebola.
The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a patients’ needs-driven, non-profit drug research and development organization that develops safe, effective and affordable medicines for neglected diseases that afflict millions of the world’s poorest people. Since its inception in 2003, DNDi has focused on developing new treatments for the most neglected patients suffering from diseases such as sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, malaria, filarial diseases, mycetoma, paediatric HIV, and hepatitis C. In 2016, DNDi and the World Health Organization launched the Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership with the aim of developing and delivering new treatments for infections where drug resistance is present or emerging, or for which inadequate treatment exists.
Photo credit: A.Lwin