2016 in Review


Our staff, partners, and stakeholders share their highlights from 2016.

Mycetoma added to WHO neglected tropical diseases list

After years of campaigning, mycetoma became the 18th disease to be included on the WHO list of neglected tropical diseases. The move facilitates funding, research, and support to fight this disease

“I was representing the Sudanese Government when I gave a statement to support the inclusion of mycetoma in the WHO neglected tropical diseases list that was discussed at the World Health Assembly in Geneva in May. Its adoption was a memorial event. I could not control my deep emotions and feelings and in fact I went into tears.”

Prof Ahmed Hassan Fahal
Director, Mycetoma Research Centre, Sudan

Towards a public health approach for hepatitis C?

Clinical trials on combination therapy for hepatitis C, ravidasvir and sofosbuvir, begin in Malaysia
“For many years I was involved with HIV and HCV as both an activist and a nurse in a French prison. This new HCV battle that we have started reminds me of the HIV battle of 30 years ago.

I was so proud, after months of intensive work, we enrolled the infamous first patient, and then the second one. And today, two months later, we have 164 patients. We keep up our motivation and we continue our battle.”

François Simon
Clinical Project Manager, DNDi

Fexinidazole, the first new oral candidate for sleeping sickness

The candidate entered into its last stage of clinical development before potential submission to regulatory authorities in 2017

“Fexinidazole could bring a great change for patients since they will no longer have to undergo infusions, and wake up at night to take their drug. If we are successful, this product will really support a big change in how we can treat HAT. I am proud to be a part of this, and to be the only female investigator in the clinical trials that DNDi are conducting on HAT in the DRC.”

Dr Hélène Mahenzi
Medical Doctor, Bandundu Hospital, Democratic Republic of Congo

New pre-clinical candidates for visceral leishmaniasis

Years of development efforts with partners finally move two new compounds into pre-clinical stage
“It has been really wonderful to see substantial lead optimization efforts deliver two new pre-clinical candidates in a very short time frame. I feel very proud to be part of this exciting prospect for the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis.”

Delphine Launay
Pharmaceutical Development Manager, DNDi


Launch of the Global Antibiotic R&D Partnership

In May, we launched a new initiative together with the WHO to address important global public health needs for antibiotics for R&D

“As a doctor working in Africa and Asia, I have seen the reality of people dying needlessly from drug-resistant infections. With the launch of GARDP, we have a unique opportunity to serve all those in need, no matter where they are, through very concrete antibiotic R&D projects.”

Dr Manica Balasegaram
Director, Global Antibiotic R&D Partnership

Harnessing students’ work to develop potential new drugs

The Open Synthesis Network, a new collaboration between DNDi and several universities, is up and running

“The capabilities and resources within the university chemistry training system are untapped. A few years ago I began making plans for a collaboration with universities where students work on projects related to potential treatments for neglected diseases.

Students are incredibly motivated and enthusiastic to not only work on projects that represent actual real-life problems, but to learn from exposure to active drug discovery projects. We hope this exposure might increase the number of students who will decide to work in the area of NTDs, evolving the NTD landscape!”

Robert Don
Discovery & Preclinical Director, DNDi

TB-HIV co-infection superboosting study results prompt a change in WHO guidelines

Increasing the dose of ritonavir to counter drug-drug interactions

“Tuberculosis is a major problem for HIV-positive children. The interactions between the anti-TB medications and the antiretroviral drugs can compromise their health. When children with TB take lopinavir, we need to up the doses of another medication, ritonavir, to overcome this drug interaction. We call this superboosting. The information gathered from the DNDi superboosting study helped to strengthen our knowledge on the treatment of small children who have TB and need lopinavir for their HIV treatment.”

Helena Rabie
Paediatrician, Cape Town

How to address the policy incoherence between trade and health?

UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines issues report calling for change

“New health technologies are seldom developed without high-margin market incentives. This leaves those in the developing world with preventable diseases and in need of specialised medicine to suffer and even die…We recommend the creation of an internationally binding R&D convention that ‘de-links’ the costs of R&D from end prices.”

Ruth Dreifuss
Former Swiss President &
Co-chair of the UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines
Malebona Precious Matsoso
Director General of the South African Department of Health &
Member of the UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines

Photo credits: Neil Brandvold–DNDi; Graham Crouch–DNDi; Don Paul/DNDi; S & Gentlemen-DNDi