The international not-for-profit medical research organization Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) will be awarded the 2023 Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation in a ceremony presided over by Their Majesties the King and Queen, and attended by Their Royal Highnesses the Princess of Asturias and Infanta Sofia, on Friday 20 October in Oviedo, Spain.
The award, the most prestigious in Spain, recognizes DNDi’s accomplishments in delivering new, safe, effective, affordable, and accessible treatments for some of the world’s most neglected diseases. Previous laureates in the International Cooperation category include the World Health Organization (WHO), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Red Cross, Amref Health Africa, and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.
‘More than a billion people belonging to the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged populations – half of whom are children – suffer from a group of diseases that cause severe social stigma and millions of deaths each year. These are diseases neglected by research, industry and commercial development,’ wrote the jury to explain its decision.
‘In its twenty-year history, the initiative has developed numerous treatments for these serious diseases. Its strategy includes an ambitious plan to develop new drugs and treatments that will improve healthcare and save millions of lives worldwide.’
Other laureates of the Princess of Asturias awards in 2023 include Meryl Streep (Arts); Nuccio Ordine (Communication and Humanities); Hélène Carrère d’Encausse (Social Sciences); Eliud Kipchoge (Sports); Haruki Murakami (Literature); Jeffrey Gordon, E. Peter Greenberg, and Bonnie L. Bassler (Technical and Scientific Research); and Mary’s Meals (Concord).
‘We are immensely grateful for this award, which is a fantastic opportunity to give visibility to the millions of people who are neglected by policymakers and commercially driven pharmaceutical research,’ said Dr Luis Pizarro, Executive Director of DNDi.
DNDi was created 20 years ago when Médecins Sans Frontières used a portion of its Nobel Peace Prize proceeds as seed money to found DNDi, along with the Indian Council of Medical Research, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Brazil, the Kenyan Medical Research Institute, the Malaysian Ministry of Health, and the Institut Pasteur of France, with the participation of the WHO.
‘We have delivered 12 new treatments in 20 years thanks to close collaborations with universities, industrial partners, national authorities, and research institutes in the countries most affected by these diseases. For example, we are developing new oral medicines against sleeping sickness that open the door to eliminating this fatal disease,’ Dr Pizarro said.
‘We will continue to work together to bring the best science to the most neglected people, and we are grateful for all the support we can receive from Spain, a country that has played an important role in driving medical research for neglected diseases. In particular, thanks to its scientists, research institutes, and funders, Spain has been an essential ally in our research programme for Chagas, a neglected disease endemic to Latin America that affects 6 million people worldwide and for which existing treatments are not satisfactory.’
The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a not-for-profit medical research organization that discovers, develops, and delivers safe, effective, and affordable treatments for neglected people. DNDi is developing medicines for sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, river blindness, mycetoma, dengue, paediatric HIV, advanced HIV disease, cryptococcal meningitis, and hepatitis C. Its research priorities include children’s health, gender equity and gender-responsive R&D, and diseases impacted by climate change. Since its creation in 2003, DNDi has joined with public and private partners across the globe to deliver twelve new treatments, saving millions of lives. Collaborations with Carlos III Institute, Fundación la Caixa, Fundación Medina, Fundación Mundo Sano Espana, ISGlobal, MSF-Spain, the Royal Academy of Medicine of Spain, and many other Spanish partners and supporters play an essential role in accomplishing its mission. dndi.org
+44 79 431 62 16
In Rio (DNDi Latin America office)
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Photo credit: Kenny Mbala-DNDi