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Feature Story

Neglected Attention

A new consortium aims to quicken drug development for neglected diseases

By Mark Zipkin, Staff Writer

Although the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) has made good on its 2003 promise to develop six therapies within 12 years, the not-for-profit wants to quicken the pace of progress for treatments that aren't likely to be advanced by the private sector alone. The organization is trying an experimental consortium designed to cut red tape and increase efficiency, in which it will forgo IP and provide compounds up front, while its corporate partners avoid disclosing their full range of molecules but provide relevant compounds from their own libraries, and operate in parallel rather than sequentially.

The DNDi deal, announced in May with AstraZeneca plc, Eisai Co. Ltd., Shionogi & Co. Ltd. and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., focuses on visceral leishmaniasis and Chagas disease. It was set in motion following the London Declaration, a 2012 World Health Organization (WHO) roadmap to accelerating work on neglected tropical diseases. The partnership has been labeled the Neglected Tropical Diseases Drug Discovery Booster consortium.

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