Novartis Pledges to Fight Tropical Diseases and Malaria

28.06.2022 - Swiss drugmaker Novartis has made a five-year financial commitment of $250 million to fight neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and malaria.

The pledge endorses the Kigali Declaration, which saw world leaders reaffirm their commitment to end NTDs and malaria during the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting held from 20-25 June in Kigali, Rwanda.

The Declaration aims to mobilize political will and secure commitments to meet global targets under the World Health Organization’s NTD 2030 road map.

“Over the past decade, great progress has been made against NTDs, but there is still a lot more work to be done. Novartis will continue progressing our longstanding commitment to helping realize a world free of NTDs,” said Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan.

The Basel-headquartered group plans to spend $100 million to advance its NTD program, which focuses on novel drug candidates for four diseases, including Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, dengue and cryptosporidiosis. The proteasome inhibitor LXE408 is currently in a Phase 2 clinical trial in patients with visceral leishmaniasis, and an NS4B inhibitor, EYU688, is in phase 1 development in dengue. Novartis’ cryptosporidiosis drug, ABO809, recently entered Phase 1.

With regard to malaria, the Swiss drugmaker will spend $150 million to advance the clinical development programs of its three novel drug candidates to combat the emerging resistance to artemisinin. It will also continue to support the development of an optimized formulation for neonates and infants under 5kg, for whom no treatment currently exists.

According to Novartis, about 1.7 billion people worldwide suffer from NTDs, which are prevalent in tropical areas and mostly affect impoverished communities, causing devastating health, social and economic consequences.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist


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