GENEVA and OSAKA, Japan, July 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland; Executive Director: Bernard Pécoul, Doctor; "DNDi") and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Headquarters: Chuo-ku, Osaka; President: Christophe Weber; "Takeda") today announced that they have signed an agreement to collaborate in the "Lead Optimization Program" aimed at identifying the best compound among aminopyrazole series for developing an innovative drug for the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis ("VL").
The program is being funded by Global Health Innovative Technology Fund ("GHIT"). GHIT is a public interest incorporated association and a fund for promoting the research and development of pharmaceuticals, vaccinations and the like which are needed in developing countries. GHIT Fund is investing approximately 400 million yen into DNDi for the program.
Leishmaniasis is a parasite infection transmitted by sandflies, and there are more than 20 Leishmania species which are the pathogens causing the infection. Leishmaniasis occurs in over 90 countries worldwide, mainly in tropical regions, but treatment options are limited. Leishmaniasis is one of the 17 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) designated by the World Health Organization (WHO). VL is the most serious form of Leishmaniasis causing fever, weight loss, spleen and lever enlargement, and anemia. If left untreated, it can cause death. Every year, 300,000 new cases of VL are confirmed, and 20,000 to 40,000 deaths are reported.
DNDi and Takeda are working on the lead optimization of the aminopyrazole series. In preclinical trials, the aminopyrazole series exhibited good antiparasitic activity, and are expected to be highly safe and effective. DNDi and Takeda consider that short-course oral administration of the drug is effective for the treatment, and therefore it is expected to be a novel drug which will be different from the existing therapeutics for VL.
In addition to this collaboration agreement, DNDi and Takeda entered into partnership agreements such as the "drug discovery booster for accelerating and promoting the discovery of new drugs for treating leishmaniasis and Chagas disease." DNDi and Takeda aim to contribute towards treating "Neglected Tropical Diseases" through these efforts.