Indian Scientists Catalyse Efforts in Research and Development for New Treatments for Neglected Diseases

[ New Dehli – October 13, 2008]
More than 100 scientists and researchers convene in New Delhi to discuss the present and future role of India in research and development (R&D), access, and capacity strengthening to develop and deliver new treatments needed by neglected patients.
[Hindi]

Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) – an independent, non-profit product development partnership – is bringing together Indian health leaders, key scientists and researchers, and drug development experts from across the Indian R&D spectrum to address critical challenges facing India and other countries worldwide in delivering new lifesaving treatments for neglected diseases. This public symposium begins at 5 pm today at Assocham House, in New Delhi.

More than one billion people a year are affected by a neglected tropical disease, which hit the world’s poorest regions, including India. Today’s current treatments for malaria, visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar), Chagas disease, and sleeping sickness – DNDi’s target diseases – are largely ineffective, highly toxic, difficult to administer, or unaffordable for these neglected patients.

”India plays a key leadership role in the fight against neglected diseases. More than 30% of DNDi’s R&D activities are currently taking place in India and cover projects from early discovery, to clinical trials, and up through access to patients,” said DNDi’s Executive Director, Bernard Pecoul.

The public symposium explores experiences in developing treatments and addressing patient needs in India. The distinguished panelists are discussing topics such as an update of DNDi’s activities in the past 5 years, the changing R&D landscape in India and its impact on neglected diseases, as well as the perspectives on R&D sector delivering innovation for neglected diseases in India from an insider point of view.

About DNDi India

With support from DNDi’s founding member, the India Council of Medical Research (ICMR), DNDi opened the regional support office in India in 2005 to support and catalyse DNDi’s operational activities, namely in the field of two diseases, malaria and visceral leishmaniasis (VL). These two diseases are prevalent in India and affect more than 3 million Indians each year, according to Indian government estimates. In addition to close networks with researchers, academics and drug development experts, DNDi India undertakes a series of initiatives to strengthen its role in advocacy for neglected disease patients and to raise awareness over their plight. For more information, please visit www.dndiindia.org.

About DNDi
Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is an independent, not-for-profit Product Development Partnership working to research and develop new and improved treatments for neglected diseases such as leishmaniasis, sleeping sickness, and Chagas disease, and malaria. DNDi was founded in 2003 by four publicly-funded research institutes from India, Malaysia, Kenya, and Brazil along with Institut Pasteur and MSF. With the objective to address unmet patient needs for these diseases, DNDi has developed the largest ever R&D portfolio for the kinetoplastid diseases and has already released two new anti-malarial drugs.  For further information, please visit www.dndi.org.

About neglected tropical diseases

Tropical diseases such as malaria, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, Chagas disease, human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), dengue fever, and schistomiasis cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Most existing treatments are archaic, ineffective, highly toxic, difficult to administer or unaffordable. Collectively called “neglected diseases,” these disabling and/or deadly infections fail to attract adequate R&D resources for new medical treatments and represent an enduring unmet medical need.