Novartis pledges $250M in R&D funding for neglected tropical diseases, malaria – Endpoints News

Over the next five years, Novartis is pledging to pour $250 million into R&D for new treatments of neglected tropical diseases and malaria — with the ultimate goal of eliminating these diseases.

“Over the past decade, great progress has been made against NTDs, but there is still a lot more work to be done,” CEO Vas Narasimhan said in a statement.

About 1.7 billion people still suffer from NTDs around the world, mostly in impoverished areas, and while malaria doesn’t fall in the NTD category, it still affects 241 million people and kills hundreds of thousands of children every year.

Specifically, Novartis is allocating $100 million toward four NTDs. The Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases will be leading up the work, which spans anti-parasitic therapies for Chagas disease (in collaboration with Wellcome), a Phase II-ready candidate to treat visceral leishmaniasis, a Phase I drug for dengue fever and a Phase I program tackling cryptosporidium infection.

As for the $150 million malaria initiative, Novartis wants to focus on three drug candidates that promise to combat the emerging resistance to artemisinin, while also supporting the development of optimized formulation for neonates and infants under 5 kg.

Novartis has previously committed $100 million toward malaria eradication in 2018 and donated a number of its therapies over the years, including the parasitic flatworm treatment Egaten and a multidrug therapy for leprosy.

It’s also been rewarded with tropical disease priority review vouchers for some of those treatments, stoking controversy among global health advocates.

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