An unchanged vision, an expanded mission In 2014 and 2015, we embarked on an extensive consultation exercise with our founding partners and key stakeholders, as well as with leading global health actors, to ensure the organization remains attuned to current and emerging patients’ needs and the evolving R&D landscape. The outcome of the consultation, enshrined in the new Business Plan for 2015 to 2023, maintains our focus on the most neglected diseases by adopting a dual strategy: on the one hand, pursuing incremental innovation to bring therapeutic benefits to patients by repurposing, reformulating, or combining existing drugs; and on the other, seeking to discover and develop entirely new chemical entities, with the aim of bringing radically improved oral treatments without which sustainable control or elimination of these diseases can never become a reality. Discovering and developing treatments to respond to neglected tropical diseases like sleeping sickness, visceral and cutaneous leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, and filaria remain at the core of our work. Adding to this focus on the most neglected of the neglected, a new research and development project will focus on new treatments for mycetoma, a devastating infection – recently introduced on the official WHO list of neglected tropical diseases – which, left untreated, eventually results in amputation. While our core focus remains unchanged, we acknowledge that the shortcomings of the existing system of research and development extend far beyond the neglected diseases at the core of DNDi’s portfolio.
From our consultations, three main findings emerged to help us draw lessons for the future of DNDi’s model and operations: first, R&D priorities do not sufficiently originate from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs); secondly, patients’ needs are not prioritized, and many treatment needs, for example for Ebola or mycetoma, are left unaddressed;
and finally, market incentives that solely rely on intellectual property and exclusivity rights do not adequately address health needs in LMICs, with certain public health needs like antimicrobial resistance left unanswered as a result. We also noted changes in global health epidemiology, with for example the
Prof Marcel Tanner (top) and Dr Bernard Pécoul (bottom) visiting DNDi projects in Tanzania and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 2015.
DNDi Annual Report 2015 › 5