2019 R&D portfolio in review: Filaria – river blindness


DNDi aims to deliver a safe, effective, affordable, and field-adapted drug that can kill adult filarial worms (a ‘macrofilaricide’) and be used for prevention or individual treatment.


Healthworker looking in microscope in a villageDNDi current filaria portfolio includes:


R&D discovery stage iconDiscovery


  • Screening: With a portfolio of four potential treatments for people with onchocerciasis, DNDi has now ended its active screening programme for filaria. Some 530 compounds have been screened in partnership with Salvensis, Merck Sharp & Dohme, University of North Carolina, AbbVie, and others. In 2019, DNDi announced the launch of a large public-private partnership called the Helminth Elimination Platform (HELP), a new multidisciplinary consortium working to identify new treatments against ‘nematode’ worms, including onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, hookworm, and whipworm.


R&D translation stage iconTranslation


  • Macro-filaricide CC6166: DNDi and Celgene (now part of Bristol-Myers Squibb) have signed an agreement covering pre-clinical and Phase I for a potentially macrofilaricidal compound known as CC6166. Celgene will cover all pre-clinical, Phase I, and CMC activities, while DNDi will provide expertise and know-how.
  • Oxfendazole: With funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, the Helminth Elimination Platform (HELP) will conduct a Phase I trial and continue late pre-clinical activities for oxfendazole.

  • TylAMac (ABBV-4083): Phase I studies have shown that TylAMac is safe and well-tolerated. DNDi is now preparing for a Phase II proof-of-concept study in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A hospital in Masi-Manimba that has long been one of the principal clinical sites for DNDi’s sleeping sickness studies has already been selected as one site for the study. Entirely renovated by DNDi for sleeping sickness trials, the site is again being upgraded by DNDi, with staff trained to run trials for river blindness.
  • Emodepside: With Phase I studies complete, preparations are underway to run a Phase II clinical trial (including safety and dose ranging and regimen selection) in Hohoe, Ghana. DNDi is renovating the site and will identify an additional site in the country for this study.


Photo credit: Junior Diatezua Kannah – DNDi