GENEVA, Jan. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) and Abbott (NYSE: ABT) have signed a four-year joint research and non-exclusive licensing agreement to undertake research on new treatments for several of the world's most neglected tropical diseases, including Chagas disease, helminth infections, leishmaniasis and sleeping sickness. Through this collaboration, DNDi and Abbott scientists will focus initial efforts on discovering and advancing novel antimicrobial agents with activity against these neglected diseases.
Since 2009, Abbott has provided compounds for DNDi to screen for activity against neglected diseases. This new agreement expands this relationship, and provides DNDi access to selected classes of molecules and accompanying data generated by Abbott that are crucial for the development of effective and accessible new treatments for neglected diseases.
"Innovative product development partnerships have significant potential for addressing neglected diseases," said Dr. John Leonard, senior vice president, Pharmaceuticals, Research and Development, Abbott. "By combining the unique scientific expertise and resources of DNDi and Abbott, we look forward to accelerating research to find practical new treatment options for people affected by these diseases."
"Abbott has demonstrated a great level of commitment by partnering with DNDi to share not only its compounds, but also its expertise and resources. For DNDi, this implies a new critical mass of knowledge to pursue our goals of addressing the unmet needs of neglected patients in the poorest areas of the world," said Dr Bernard Pecoul, Executive Director of DNDi.
Equitable access to treatments for neglected diseases in all endemic countries, not only least-developed countries, is at the core of this agreement, and DNDi has committed to ensuring the lowest sustainable pricing for any products developed and distributed as a result of the agreement. Intellectual property (IP) related to this agreement, existing relevant Abbott IP and new IP generated by this collaboration will be subject to a principle of non-exclusive licensing to address neglected diseases in endemic countries. Under the agreement, Abbott has the right of first negotiation to become DNDi's development and distribution partner. DNDi is free to engage other partners if Abbott chooses not to serve as a development and distribution partner.
The agreement, in short implies:
About the London NTD event
The commitments announced by DNDi are a key part of a new, coordinated push by a diverse range of public and private partners to combat 10 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) by 2020. Today, 13 pharmaceutical companies, the U.S. and U.K. governments, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank and officials from NTD-endemic countries pledged to bring a unique focus to defeating these diseases and to work together to improve the lives of the billion people worldwide affected by NTDs.
In the largest coordinated effort to date to combat NTDs, the group announced at an event at the Royal College of Physicians that they would: sustain or expand existing drug donation programs to meet demand through 2020; share expertise and compounds to accelerate research and development of new drugs; and provide more than US$785 million to support R&D efforts and strengthen drug distribution and implementation programmes. The partners also signed onto the "London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases," in which they pledged new levels of collaboration and tracking and reporting of progress.
New funding commitments will fully support work toward the eradication of Guinea worm, as well as expedite progress toward the 2020 goals of: elimination for lymphatic filariasis, blinding trachoma, sleeping sickness and leprosy; and control of soil-transmitted helminthes, schistosomiasis, river blindness, Chagas and visceral leishmaniasis.
About Neglected Tropical Diseases
Neglected diseases are a group of tropical infections that disproportionately affect the world's poor and marginalized populations. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than a billion people or one-sixth of the global population suffer from one or more tropical infectious diseases. The partnership between DNDi and Abbott is focused on finding new treatments to address the following diseases:
About Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi)
The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a not-for-profit research and development organization working to deliver new treatments for neglected diseases, in particular sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis), Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, specific helminth infections, paediatric HIV, and malaria. DNDi was established in 2003 by Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ) from Brazil, Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Ministry of Health of Malaysia, and Pasteur Institute of France. The Special Programme for Tropical Disease Research (TDR) serves as a permanent observer. Since its inception, DNDi has delivered six new treatments for neglected patients: two fixed-dose antimalarials (ASAQ and ASMQ), nifurtimox-eflornithine combination therapy (NECT) for late-stage sleeping sickness, sodium stibogluconate and paromomycin (SSG&PM) combination therapy for visceral leishmaniasis in Africa, a set of combination therapies for visceral leishmaniasis in Asia, and a paediatric dosage form of benznidazole for Chagas disease. www.dndi.org
Abbott and its philanthropic foundation, the Abbott Fund, are supporting innovative new efforts to advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of neglected diseases around the world. In 2009, Abbott created an Executive Council for Neglected Diseases to coordinate efforts across the company to contribute innovative technologies, drug compounds and scientific expertise, working in partnership with non-profit organizations, academic research institutions and multilateral agencies. The Abbott Fund also supports programs to advance research and expand community education and outreach on neglected diseases.
Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs approximately 91,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries. Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's website at www.abbott.com.