French development agency AFD commits €1.5m to DNDi for the development of two news drugs for malaria

[ Paris, Geneva – June 14, 2006 ]
AFD (Agence Française de Développement) and DNDi (Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative) finalised a partnership agreement today to support the development of two new drugs for malaria.
[Français]

The objective of the FACT (Fixed-dose Artesunate Combination Therapies) programme, initiated in 2002 by DNDi and its partners, is to provide two new Artesunate-based Combination Therapies (ACTs) for millions of malaria patients in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. These combinations, recommended by the World Health Organisation, will not only save lives but also deter the rapid development of parasite resistance to these drugs, as happened to chloroquine. The two new treatments « Artesunate/Amodiaquine » and « Artesunate/Mefloquine » will combine two proven antimalarials in a single tablet, and will offer two advantages over existing treatments:

puce Simpler dosage regimen with less tablets to take and, thereby, improved treatment compliance;
puce Reduced cost of treatment.

« This partnership with DNDi stems from the commitment of AFD to support innovative initiatives with public and private partnerships, aimed not only at providing health solutions to populations in developing countries in need of appropriate treatments, but also at reinforcing the technological capacity and know-how of developing countries », said Jean Michel Severino, Executive Director of AFD.

Under the provisions of this agreement, the financial contribution of AFD will be provided exclusively in the final stage of the development of these two new treatments, which will include:

puce The registration of the products in one endemic country each in Africa, Asia and South America;
puce Technology transfer to industrial partners in the endemic regions for the production of the drugs;
puce Assistance to those in charge of national programmes in the countries concerned to help them include these new treatments in the existing therapeutic protocols.

The agreement amounts to €1.5m payable over 2006 and 2007
« The support provided by AFD will play a determining role at this stage of our project. For many years, the DNDi malaria programme has brought together academics and private partners like Sanofi Aventis, and it has received for its clinical development stage the support of Médecins Sans Frontières and the European Union. This contribution of AFD, the first one from France since the launch of DNDi, is an encouraging sign that certain governments are starting to perceive the urgency to invest in R&D on neglected diseases, to promote the development of new, more effective and adapted treatments, », said Dr Bernard Pecoul, Executive Director of DNDi.

DNDi (Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative) is a non-profit organisation, created in 2003 to develop new drugs against neglected diseases, which affect massively the poorest populations in developing countries. The research and development portfolio of DNDi currently includes 20 projects on human African trypanosomiasis (also known as « sleeping sickness »), Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, and malaria. The other DNDi founding members are 5 research institutions: Institut Pasteur, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Foundation Oswaldo Cruz in Brazil, the Ministry of Health in Malaysia, and the humanitarian organisation Médecins sans Frontières. The special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) from WHO/UNICEF/World Bank acts as a permanenent observer to the initiative. Another DNDi mission is to support the development of research capacities in endemic countries, and increase public awareness on the necessity to increase our efforts in R&D on neglected diseases: www.dndi.org

For further information, please contact

Jean-François Alesandrini at jfalesandrini@dndi.org;
+41 22 906 92 43 or
mobile +41 (0)79 596 5066

or Ann-Marie SEVCSIK at amsevcsik@dndi.org;
+1-646-258-8131 or
+41 (0)79 814 9147)