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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
7-Sep-2005

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Contact: Paul Ocampo
press@plos.org
415-624-1224
PLOS

A new era of hope for neglected diseases



Active Neglected-Disease Drug Projects by Institution* (Dec 2004) (Abbreviations used in figure: DNDi, Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative; IOWH, Institute for OneWorld Health; MMV, Medicines for Malaria Venture; ND, neglected diseases.)

Full size image available here

A dramatic sea-change in research into ten so-called "neglected diseases," such as malaria, leprosy and sleeping sickness, could result in at least eight new drugs being developed by 2010. However, lack of funding could lead to the collapse of the driving source of this promising new trend, according to an analysis in the open access journal PLoS Medicine.

After a barren period when very few therapies were introduced for neglected diseases, which kill around 3m people a year and cause the loss of the equivalent of 92m years' of healthy life, there are now over 60 drug research projects underway.

In the PLoS Medicine analysis, which is based upon a 100-page report financed by the Wellcome Trust, Mary Moran of the London School of Economics found that around three-quarters of these projects are conducted under the umbrella of drug development Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). Thirteen of them have already reached clinical trial stage and two are awaiting regulatory approval (rectal artesunate for malaria, and paromomycin for visceral leishmaniasis). These PPP-driven projects should result in six or seven new drug registrations in the next five years.



The R&D Drug Landscape for Neglected Diseases (Dec 2004)

Full size image available here

Research by Dr Moran and her colleagues has shown that PPPs have been a critical driver of this considerable increase in activity, and that the PPP approach brings together the best skills of both public and private partners. This model consequently performs better than either sector working alone when it comes to delivering safe, effective, affordable drugs for neglected diseases.

In a linked editorial, entitled "A New Era of Hope for the World's Most Neglected Diseases", the PLoS Medicine editors argue that Moran's findings are one of several indicators that the world is finally taking action against these diseases.

For example, the Gleneagles Communiqué arising out of this year's G8 summit specifically called for increased investment to encourage the development of tools for neglected-disease control.

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Citation: Moran M (2005) A breakthrough in R&D for neglected diseases: New ways to get the drugs we need. PLoS Med 2(9): e302.

PLEASE ADD THE LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0020302

CONTACTS:

Dr Mary Moran
Director
Pharmaceutical R&D Policy Project
London School of Economics
Health and Social Care Department
Houghton St
London WC2A 2AE UK

Tel: 44-207-852-3615
Fax: 44-207-955-6803
email: m.moran@lse.ac.uk

Dr Javier Guzman
Pharmaceutical R&D Policy Project
Wellcome Trust
London School of Economics
Health and Social Care Department
Houghton St
London WC2A 2AE UK
Tel: 44-207-955-6475
Fax: 44-207-955-6803
Email: j.guzman@lse.ac.uk

PLEASE MENTION PLoS Medicine (www.plosmedicine.org) AS THE SOURCE FOR THESE ARTICLES. THANK YOU.

All works published in PLoS Medicine are open access. Everything is immediately available without cost to anyone, anywhere¡Xto read, download, redistribute, include in databases, and otherwise use¡Xsubject only to the condition that the original authorship is properly attributed. Copyright is retained by the authors. The Public Library of Science uses the Creative Commons Attribution License.



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