Sanofi and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) are embarking on a three-year research partnership focused on the discovery and development of drugs against nine neglected tropical diseases that have been flagged by the World Health Organization as needing new therapeutic approaches in endemic countries.
Under terms of the collaboration Sanofi will provide molecules identified from its libraries, and the two organizations will work together to develop molecular scaffolds. The partners will jointly own the results and publish relevant findings to help provide access by researchers involved in neglected tropical diseases research. The diseases covered under the partnership include: kinetoplastid diseases (leishmaniases, Chagas disease, and human African trypanosomiasis), helminth infections (lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, and soil-transmitted helminthasis), dracunculiasis, fascioliasis, and schistosomiasis.
“This agreement is a major milestone in our access to molecules that can help combat neglected diseases,” comments Bernard Pécoul, DNDi’s executive director. “We believe that this level of private-sector involvement in open-research collaboration to deliver appropriate medicines as public goods is vital to addressing the needs of the most vulnerable populations in the world.”
Sanofi already has an ongoing research partnership with WHO centered on sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis, Buruli ulcer, and Chagas disease. In 2010 the firm established a therapeutic strategic unit within its R&D organization, focused on the development of new anti-infectives against specific neglected tropical diseases and multiresistant bacterial infections.