The Gates Foundation announced that it is teaming with 13 of the largest pharma companies to find treatments for 10 neglected tropical diseases by the self-imposd deadline of 2020. The Gates Foundation itself is pledging $363 M of the total $785 M earmarked for the project.
Participating companies include, many of the world's heavy weight in drug development, many of whom have had at least some efforts for some time in going after these diseases.
- Bayer - Chagas disease
- Abbott, J&J, Pfizer, Sanofi, GSK, Eisai - lymphatic filariasis
- MSD - river blindness
- Sanofi, Bayer - sleeping sickness
- Gilead - visceral leishmaniasis
- GSK, J&J - soil helminthes
- Novartis - leprosy
- Pfizer - blinding trachoma
- Merck KGaA - schistosomiasis
Additionally, Abbott, AstraZeneca, Bayer, BMS, Eisai, GSK, J&J, MSD, Novartis, Pfizer, and Sanofi are working with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDI) to provide access to proprietary compound libraries to develop new drugs.
"As an industry, we have the capabilies and the know-how and resources that can improve the state of the world, especially the developing world," said Paul Stoffels, worlwdie chair of the J&J pharmaceuticals business.
Of course, others weren't quite as optimistic. Medecins Sans Frontieres (aka Doctors without Borders) argues that more research is needed and that these companies only spend a pittance on tropical diseases each year at $18.3 M -- compared to their oft cited figure of $1.3 B on a single approved drug. See Fierce Biotech and the press release.
As Nike would say, "Just Do It".
Posted by Bruce Lehr Jan 30th 2012.