The NTD Drug Discovery Booster

Chagas disease | Leishmaniasis | Started in 2015



Abbvie; AstraZeneca plc; Celgene Corporation; Eisai Co Ltd; Merck; Shionogi & Co Ltd; Takeda Pharmaceutical Limited


The NTD Drug Discovery Booster project aims to speed up the process and cut the cost of finding new treatments for leishmaniasis and Chagas disease.

The project brings together Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) and seven pharmaceutical companies: Abbvie, AstraZeneca plc, Celgene Corporation, Eisai Co Ltd, Merck, Shionogi & Co Ltd, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Ltd. By using a multilateral, simultaneous search process across the five global pharmaceutical companies, DNDi will access millions of unique compounds, generated over many decades of research, to screen for potential treatments or cures for these diseases.


This experiment could significantly reduce the time and money it takes to find new, promising treatment leads, and echoes the great potential of innovative research and development collaborations.

Dr Bernard Pécoul, Executive Director, DNDi

The innovation of the Drug Discovery Booster not only lies in the multilateral approach, but also in the iterative nature of the search, meaning companies will continually examine their libraries for better matches as the search is refined. This will significantly condense down the time it will take to find new, promising treatment leads.

The GHIT Fund, launched in 2013, stimulates and supports such international global health research and development partnerships. Through an initial grant of EUR 640,000/ 79.5 million Japanese Yen and a second grant of EUR 470,000/ 55 million Japanese Yen, provided to DNDi, GHIT will support the involvement of the three Japanese companies in this project.

How the Drug Discovery Booster works

Current Status
1st Seed: Hit series released, optimization ongoing
2nd Seed: Hit series released, optimization ongoing
3rd Seed: Hit series identified
4th Seed: Stopped
5th Seed: Hit series released, optimization ongoing
6th Seed: Hit series released, optimization ongoing
7th Seed: Third iteration ongoing
8th seed: Hit series identified
9th seed: Stopped
10th Seed: Stopped
11th Seed: Second iteration ongoing
12th and 13th Seed: First iteration ongoing

Last updated: 18 April, 2017

In the Media

Al Jazeera The Cure [3 August 2015]
Finding a cure for Kala-azar
Click here to watch video

BioCentury [30 July 2015]
“Neglected attention”
Click here to access the article / PDF

The New York Times [1 June 2015]
“Japanese companies attack neglected diseases”
Click here to read the article