Dutch Government gives 14 million Euros to DNDi to fight neglected tropical diseases

[Geneva, Switzerland – December 3, 2010]
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands has granted 14 million Euros to the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) to fight neglected tropical diseases. The grant will be disbursed over four years (2011-2014) and will provide critical funding for DNDi on the core disease programmes for human African trypanosomiasis, Chagas disease, and leishmaniasis. This is the second time that the Dutch government has awarded funding to DNDi.

This new Dutch funding will help us to both develop new medicines for children and adults suffering from neglected tropical diseases and to move new chemical entities toward clinical development to support elimination programmes” said Dr. Bernard Pecoul, Executive Director of DNDi.

More than 1 billion people are still affected by at least one of the 17 diseases listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). These diseases kill millions of people each year, affect mostly poor populations, and aggravate poverty.

Despite the phenomenal changes in medicine over the past half-century, with therapeutic advances saving many millions of lives, neglected diseases have been left behind.

Since it first began in 2003, DNDi has concentrated its efforts on three diseases- human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), leishmaniasis and Chagas disease. All are fatal if left untreated. Although until now several drugs have been available for these killer diseases, they are suboptimal, incomplete, or inadequate to sustain elimination efforts. Substantial investments in research and development are urgently needed to develop new-generation diagnostics and treatments and strategies to reach those who need them most and to make sure they are used correctly.

Mrs. Reina Buijs, Head of the Health and Aids Division of the Dutch Government, says: “(…) of the strongest points of DNDi (is) that it works very actively to share information and to build capacity between partners in industrialized and developing countries.

In 2006, the first grant from the Netherlands to DNDi helped develop and give access to two new WHO recommended Artemisinin Combination Therapies for malaria.

The Dutch government is leading the way to accelerate the fight against neglected diseases by supporting drug research and development and funding DNDi and other product development partnerships”, says Dr. Bernard Pecoul, “We hope this will stimulate other governments and public institutions to join the fight against these devastating diseases” he concluded.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Dr. Bernard Pecoul or the project team,
please contact, Karin Génevaux, Tel: +41 22 906 92 34, email: kgenevaux@dndi.org

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 – Malaysian Ministry of Health, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Indian Council of Medical Research, 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 robust portfolio, 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. Since 2007, DNDi has delivered three products, fixed-dose anti-malarials “ASAQ” and “ASMQ”, and the combination treatment NECT
(nifurtimox-eflornithine combination therapy) for the advanced stage of sleeping sickness.
For more information: www.dndi.org.

In order to achieve its objectives of delivering six to eight new treatments and building a robust
pipeline by 2014, DNDi requires an additional EUR 70 million in funding from public and private donors. To date, DNDi has secured EUR 150 million from donors such as Médecins Sans Frontières, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, the Netherlands and the United States of America (NIH/NIAID).

DNDi also raises awareness about the need for greater R&D for neglected diseases and strengthens
existing research capacity in disease-endemic countries.