Over the last decade the Drugs for Neglected Disease Initiative (DNDi) and its partners have developed and delivered new effective and affordable treatments for poverty-related diseases including Chagas disease, sleeping sickness, malaria and leishmaniasis affecting the world’s most vulnerable populations.
Despite the major progress achieved in global health over the last century, there remains a significant equity gap and many diseases affecting the poorest populations are still neglected. This represents shortcomings of market incentives resulting in only 10% of the world research expenditure being spent on diseases that account for 90% of the global health burden. Controlling and eliminating these diseases is a vital component of the strategy to alleviate poverty. Over the last decades public-private partnerships and product development partnerships have emerged as innovative mechanisms to overcome this market failure and facilitate the development of new products for poverty-related diseases.
DNDi is a prime example of product development partnerships. Founded by seven public and private institutions from different countries, DNDi has, over the last ten years, successfully worked with academia, industry, NGOs and governments around the world, to develop and implement six new drugs against malaria, Chagas, sleeping sickness, and leishmaniasis. These diseases potentially affect more than 3 billion people.
Some of their new products have been registered in more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and, as an example, more than 150 million doses of their antimalarial drugs have already been delivered. More new products are in the pipeline. One of the prime innovations is the way DNDi works facilitating the complex development path from design, evaluation, registration, production and implementation of these drugs, mostly working with endemic countries.
DNDi represents an institutional model of good practice, translating scientific research to development cooperation, through knowledge management and delivery of results to disadvantaged populations suffering from neglected diseases.