Pharma Tackles Tropical Diseases

Stephanie Sutton

Stephanie Sutton was an assistant editor at Pharmaceutical Technology Europe.

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

The pharmaceutical industry is paying more attention to less well-known tropical diseases, according to a report from the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA).

The pharmaceutical industry is paying more attention to less well-known tropical diseases, according to a report from the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA). The report documents the research and development (R&D) projects by IFPMA member companies to develop medicines and vaccines for the 10 major diseases of the developing world (DDW) prioritized by the United Nations.

“It is obvious that the world does not have all the medicines it needs to address developing world diseases,” said Michael D. Boyd, Acting General of the IFPMA, in an IFPMA press release.

The report shows that DDW medicine and vaccine projects by IFPMA member companies have increased from 67 in 2008 to 84 in 2009. The number of tuberculosis and malaria projects has also grown slightly, while projects for the remaining eight tropical diseases have jumped from 11 in 2008 to 25 in 2009.

Two new DDW treatments were approved recently as well. Novartis (Basel) and Medicines for Malaria Venture, a nonprofit foundation based in Switzerland, developed a soluble dosage form of a malaria treatment. In addition, the combination of oral Nofurtimox and intravenous Elfornithine for treating human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) was developed out of a collaboration with Bayer HealthCare (Leverkusen, Germany), Sanofi–Aventis (Paris), the UN's program for Training in Tropical Diseases, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative which is a worldwide partnership, Epicentre, Medecins sans Frontieres, and the Swiss Tropical Institute.

“Research is vital if we are to improve global public health,” said Boyd in the release. “The report underlines the commitment of the research-based pharmaceutical industry and its many partners to fill these gaps. The public–private partnership model is delivering increased R&D efforts on diseases primarily affecting the developing world.”

Stephanie Sutton is an assistant editor at Pharmaceutical Technology Europe.