Filarial DiseasesTranslation


  • Target disease: Filarial diseases
  • Main partners (since start date): Analytical Services International, UK; Bayer HealthCare, Germany; Hammersmith Medicines Research, UK; Imperial College London, UK; Mahidol University, Thailand; Niche Science and Technology, UK; University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ghana. 
  • Start date: March 2013
  • Funding (since start date): Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USA; USAID, USA; Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) through KfW, Germany.


Overall Objective:

  • Develop emodepside as a new macrofilaricidal treatment for patients suffering from onchocerciasis.



Emodepside is a semi-synthetic product (originated by Astellas and out-licensed to Bayer for animal and human use); its precursor is synthesized by a fungus living in the leaves of Camellia japonica. It is a potent antihelminthic drug used in combination with praziquantel (as Profender®) and in combination with toltrazuril (as Procox®) for the treatment of parasitic worms in cats and dogs. DNDi and Bayer Pharma AG are jointly developing emodepside for the treatment of onchocerciasis patients. DNDi will be responsible for the pre-clinical and clinical development of emodepside and Bayer for the pharmaceutical development, manufacturing, registration, and supply of the drug at the lowest sustainable price.


Phase I studies continued throughout 2017 with 116 healthy volunteers recruited by the end of the year. The single ascending dose study was completed and the multiple ascending dose study will be completed in 2018.

Emodepside entered into healthy volunteer Phase I studies in 2016. The single ascending dose study will be completed in 2017 while the protocols for the multiple dose study will be initiated. The design of two Phase Ib studies to be performed in patients in Africa is also being finalized.
The pre-clinical package to start Phase I studies was completed and recruitment into a single-single-ascending dose study was initiated in December 2015.

Last update: August 2018