Advinus Therapeutics and DNDi Join Forces on Drug Discovery and Development for Visceral Leishmanias (Kala Azar)

[ Bangalore and Geneva October  11, 2007 ]
Advinus Therapeutics (P) Ltd. and Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), a not-for-profit R&D organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, announced today that they have formed a collaboration for discovery and development of novel therapies for visceral leishmaniasis (kala azar), a fatal infectious disease of developing countries including India.

The collaboration, which has been agreed upon for an initial period of 5 years and may be extended if needed, will be the first of its kind in India to discover and develop novel therapies for this neglected disease. The collaboration has been formed to specifically address unmet patient needs as current treatments have significant drawbacks, either in terms of route of administration, length of treatment (21 to 28 days), and emerging parasitic resistance.

Uniting complementary capabilities in Europe and India, the collaboration brings together expertise in chemistry, biology, screening, and pre-formulation and will help to strengthen capacity in VL-endemic countries through training and networking. The goal of the project is to progress molecules proven to be safe and active against VL parasites in early-stage screening research through the first steps of regulatory safety assessment in the preclinical phase.

Dr. Rashmi Barbhaiya, the CEO and MD of Advinus, stated that this collaboration reconfirms the commitment of Advinus for developing drugs to treat neglected diseases and is an extension of the TATA group’s philosophy for doing things in the national interest. India today is one of the few countries in the world that not only has the disease burden, but also the capability and capacity to research and develop new therapies for these diseases. He further added that Advinus, in particular, with its extensive drug discovery and development expertise, is uniquely positioned to address this need.

Dr. Bernard Pecoul of DNDi added that the partnership of Advinus and DNDi provides a critical catalyst in the development of drugs to treat visceral leishmaniasis and should serve as a model for future drug development for neglected diseases, in which public and private partners in the North and the South work together to bridge the gaps left by previous market and public policy failures.

About DNDi

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is an independent, not-for-profit drug development initiative established in 2003 by five publicly-funded research organisations – the Malaysian Ministry of Health, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, the Indian Council of Medical Research, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation Brazil, and the Institut Pasteur – as well as an international humanitarian organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières. The UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO’s Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) is a permanent observer. With a current portfolio of 18 projects, DNDi aims to develop new, improved, and field-relevant drugs for neglected diseases, such as malaria, leishmaniasis, human African trypanosomiasis, and Chagas disease that afflict the very poor in developing countries. DNDi also raises awareness about the need for greater R&D for neglected diseases and strengthens existing research capacity in disease-endemic countries. For further information, please consult www.dndi.org

About Advinus
Advinus Therapeutics is an emerging drug discovery and development company catering to the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries. The company has been promoted by the TATA group, India’s largest and most respected business house and led by executives with extensive international experience in pharma R&D. Advinus is the first of its kind in India to offer end to end pre-clinical and early clinical development services to the global Pharma and Biotech industry while creating long term value through internal and collaborative Drug Discovery. The Discovery unit located in Pune is fully integrated from hit to preclinical candidate. Advinus Development in Bangalore offers an integrated service platform for process chemistry, DMPK, clinical pharmacology, safety assessment, analytical R&D, bioanalytical and formulation development. For company information, visit Advinus at www.advinus.com

For further information, please contact

Advinus Therapeutics
Rajiv Malik
SVP – Operations
Rajiv.malik@advinus.com
Tel: 080-2839-2378

Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative

Ann-Marie Sevcsik
Scientific Communications Manager
amsevcsik@dndi.org
Tel: +41 79 814 9147