NTD Drug Discovery Booster

Chagas disease, leishmaniasis | Started in 2015 

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 eight pharmaceutical companies: AbbVie, Astellas Pharma Inc, AstraZeneca plc, Celgene Corporation, Eisai Co Ltd, Merck, Shionogi & Co Ltd, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Ltd. By using a multilateral, simultaneous search process across the eight 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, a second grant of EUR 470,000/ 55 million Japanese Yen, and a third grant of EUR 1.2 million/ 158 million Japanese Yen provided to DNDi, GHIT will support the involvement of the four Japanese companies in this project.



IPK joined DNDi’s new initiative, the NTD Drug Discovery Booster programme, that cuts the cost of early-stage drug discovery, accelerates and expands discovery of new drugs for NTDs. In 2016, we identified four hit series that are currently advancing to further development. It is our hope that we can soon identify a breakthrough compound for patients.

David Shum, Group Leader, Assay Development & Screening, Institut Pasteur Korea, South Korea


Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd.; Eisai Co., Ldt.; Shionogi & Co., Ldt.; AstraZeneca; Celgene Global Health; AbbVie; Merck; Astellas Pharma.




NTD Drug Discovery Booster Factsheet 2018 coverpage

NTD Drug Discovery Booster


How the Drug Discovery Booster works

Current Status

1st Seed: Hit series released, in vivo efficacy study ongoing in Leishmania and Chagas disease
2nd Seed: Hit series released, optimization ongoing via the DNDi Open Synthesis Network
3rd Seed: Hit series released, analoging ongoing
4th Seed: Stopped
5th Seed: Hit series released, in vivo efficacy study ongoing in Leishmania and Chagas disease
6th Seed: Hit series released, in vivo efficacy study ongoing in Chagas disease
7th Seed: Hit series released, in vivo efficacy study ongoing in Leishmania and Chagas
8th Seed: 2 Hit series released, further profiling ongoing
9th Seed: Stopped
10th Seed: Stopped
11th Seed: Stopped
12th Seed: 3rd iteration ongoing
13th Seed: 2 Hit series identified, release process ongoing
14th Seed: Hit series identified; 2nd iteration ongoing to boost information
15th Seed: 2nd iteration ongoing
16th Seed: 2nd iteration ongoing
17th seed: 1st Iteration ongoing

Last updated: 12 February 2018

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