DNDi Partners With Pharma, Biotech, Academia, Public Health Institutes & NGOs to Deliver Lifesaving Drugs

24 Jun 2008
NEW YORK - June 24, 2008 - Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), an independent, non-profit pharmaceutical organization, will bring together more than 150 scientists, researchers, academics and global health leaders from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America on June 26, 2008, to discuss how international research partnerships can best develop and deliver new lifesaving drugs for neglected diseases.

Immediately following the scientific conference, DNDi will mark the launch of its North American regional support office, charged with expanding scientific, advocacy and fundraising efforts in the region, with a public research symposium entitled "Developing New Treatments for the Most Neglected Diseases through Global Research Partnerships" (open to media - details follow).

"To strengthen cross-border and public-private collaboration, our scientific partners from around the world will share critical insights on meeting patient needs, conducting clinical trials, and fostering R&D innovation," said Marcel Tanner, Chair of DNDi's Board of Directors. "In addition, we are pleased to announce the formation of DNDi's North American Board of Directors and the opening of our regional support office in New York City."

More than one billion people a year are infected with a neglected tropical disease, primarily in the world's poorest regions. Millions of those infected will die, and a disproportionate number will be children. Existing drugs for DNDi's target diseases - malaria, Chagas disease, sleeping sickness and visceral leishmaniasis - are largely archaic, ineffective, highly toxic, difficult to administer or unaffordable for developing nations.

DNDi's innovative business model takes drug development outside the conventional market-driven system by mobilizing the best scientific resources to address the needs of the most neglected patients. DNDi orchestrates the activities of R&D teams from public health institutions, academia, pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, as well as other medical non-profit and non-governmental organizations, to move drugs through the development pipeline."In its short existence, DNDi has already shown remarkable capabilities in executing drug discovery and development programs, as exemplified by the introduction of two new drugs for malaria which were registered in record time," commented Dr. Bennett Shapiro, Chair of DNDi's North American board of directors. "The opportunity to relieve the suffering of neglected patient populations is immense, and I am delighted to be part of this effort."

Shapiro is an accomplished scientist and executive whose career encompasses academia, the public health sector, the pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology entrepreneurship. At pharmaceutical firm Merck, Shapiro directed research relationships with the academic and biomedical community, and was also responsible for all basic and preclinical research activities worldwide.

Research Symposium Open to Media
Media are invited to attend DNDi's research symposium, "Developing New Treatments for the Most Neglected Diseases through Global Research Partnerships," on Thursday, June 26 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm, followed by a reception, at DNDi North America, 7 World Trade Center, 40th Floor, 250 Greenwich Street, New York, NY.

About DNDi North America
DNDi has a strong network of scientific partners in North America working to develop new treatments for DNDi's target diseases. In 2007, DNDi was awarded two significant grants from distinguished North American organizations - The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. National Institutes of Health. In addition to cultivating relationships with DNDi supporters, DNDi North America advocates for increased R&D and funding for neglected diseases. For more information, please visit http://www.dndina.org.

About DNDi
DNDi is an independent, non-profit product development partnership working to research and develop new and improved treatments for neglected diseases such as malaria, leishmaniasis, sleeping sickness and Chagas disease. With the objective to address unmet patient needs for these diseases, DNDi has developed the largest ever R&D portfolio for the kinetoplastid diseases and has already released two new anti-malarial drugs. For further information, please visit http://www.dndi.org.

About neglected tropical diseases
Tropical diseases such as malaria, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, Chagas disease, human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), dengue fever, and schistomiasis cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Most existing treatments are archaic, ineffective, highly toxic, difficult to administer or unaffordable. Collectively called "neglected diseases," these disabling and/or deadly infections fail to attract adequate R&D resources for new medical treatments and represent an enduring unmet medical need.


Media Contacts:
Michelle French, DNDi North America
(212) 298-3743 or (646) 552-4600

Sadia Kaenzig, DNDi
+41 (0)22 906 92 30 or +41 (0)79 819 99 71

Ann-Marie Sevcsik, DNDi
(646) 258-8131 or +41 (0)79 814 9147