AstraZeneca joins the fight to eliminate neglected tropical diseases

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Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) are to collaborate on a screening programme for a range of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), including leishmaniasis, Chagas disease and sleeping sickness.

Drugs Research

The three neglected tropical diseases affect almost 10 million people worldwide and any suitable novel drugs will be considered for new medications to treat the NTDs.

Novel drugs are medications which can be delivered to the patient in different ways and through different routes in the body – for example, orally (tablets), nasally (inhalation), through the skin (creams, injections and implants), or using proteins as carriers for the drug.

The project will involve AstraZeneca supplying DNDi with 15,000 compounds which potentially will treat any of the three NTDs being researched – DNDi will arrange screening and testing at Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK).

If any of the compounds appear to have a positive effect on the neglected tropical diseases, AstraZeneca and DNDi will assess their potential as possible treatments for the neglected tropical diseases.

The Executive Director of DNDi, Dr Bernard Pécoul said:

“We welcome AstraZeneca as a new partner in our ongoing efforts to access the compounds necessary to boost the development of much-needed medicines for the world's most neglected patients – including those afflicted with leishmaniasis, Chagas disease and sleeping sickness.

“This first agreement with AstraZeneca gives us a solid basis to build a fruitful collaboration and access promising new drug compounds for these and other neglected diseases.”

The partnership follows a meeting in London on 30 January – 'Uniting to Combat NTDs' – which set out to implement the World Health Organization’s goal to control and eliminate 10 of the 17 neglected tropical diseases by 2020.

Manos Perros – head of the AstraZeneca Infection Innovative Medicines Unit – said:

“As a global pharmaceutical company which conducts a significant amount of infectious disease research, AstraZeneca recognises the urgent need to deliver new medicines for people who suffer from neglected tropical diseases.

“Sharing science beyond our own labs with leading organisations like DNDi is a great way to tackle these complex diseases that have gone unchecked for far too long.”

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