The non-profit research and development (R&D) organization the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is launching a new drug discovery, development, and access agenda that doubles down on neglected patient needs, prepares for future pandemics and climate-sensitive diseases, and prioritizes the development of appropriate treatments for women and children.
As part of its Strategic Plan 2021-2028,the organization aims to deliver 15 to 18 new treatments, for a total of 25 new treatments in its first 25 years.
Since its creation in 2003, DNDi has delivered eight treatments for neglected patients, including most recently fexinidazole, the first all-oral treatment for sleeping sickness and DNDi’s first new chemical entity (NCE). DNDi aims to deliver 10 to 12 treatments by 2024 thanks to its current, mature portfolio, and 5 to 7 treatments from earlier-stage NCEs and portfolio expansion to address new areas of unmet medical need.
The Plan was developed following a year-long consultation exercise with DNDi’s founding partners, leading global health research and industry experts, and dozens of DNDi’s more than 200 partner organizations around the world.
‘Our Strategic Plan comes at a moment when the COVID-19 crisis is shining a glaring light on the inequalities of our global biomedical system, which has for too long ignored the R&D needs of neglected populations living in low- and middle-income counties,’ said Dr Bernard Pécoul, Executive Director of DNDi. ‘Our vision for global health R&D for the next decade is to contribute to a more equitable system for innovation and access, where we not only address clear treatment gaps for infectious diseases, but also help to drive wider systemic changes needed to ensure access to the fruits of scientific progress for all people in need.’
DNDi will prioritize the needs of patients affected by neglected tropical diseases and viral diseases that exact a disproportionate toll on already vulnerable and neglected communities. The organization will join with its founding partners, science leaders, and research allies in LMICs as equal partners to define R&D priorities, strengthen South-South and cross-regional research collaborations. We will partner for impact by expanding industry networks, notably in low- and middle-income countries. And DNDi will continue to push for open, transparent, and collaborative research – speaking out for the policies and political will needed to re-orient the global biomedical R&D system to focus on patients’ needs, not profits.
DNDi’s Strategic Plan was launched today at a webinar featuring Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, Director of Research, INSERM and DNDi Board Chair, Dr Bernhards Ogutu, Chief Research Officer, KEMRI and DNDi Board Member, Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director, Wellcome, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organization, and Dr Bernard Pécoul Executive Director of DNDi.
DNDi will seek the support of governments, other funding institutions, and private philanthropy to raise EUR 612 million for the 2021-2028 period, including EUR 136 million already secured.
A not-for-profit research and development organization, DNDi works to deliver new treatments for neglected patients, those living with Chagas disease, sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis), leishmaniasis, filarial infections, mycetoma, paediatric HIV, and hepatitis C. DNDi is also coordinating a clinical trial to find treatments for mild-to-moderate COVID-19 cases in Africa. Since its inception in 2003, DNDi has delivered eight new treatments to date, including new drug combinations for kala-azar, two fixed-dose antimalarials, and DNDi’s first successfully developed new chemical entity, fexinidazole, approved in 2018 for the treatment of both stages of sleeping sickness. dndi.org
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Photo credit: Lameck Ododo/DNDi