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ASTMH Symposium Showcases Efforts To Meet the Need for New Medicines to Treat Infectious Diseases in Developing Countries
Date:11/21/2009

ing Through Pharma's Attic: Taking Advantage of Industry's Unused Assets to Generate New Products for Infectious Diseases of the Developing World," featured presentations on the following topics:

  • Finding a Diamond in the Rough: Screening Industry's Libraries Against Tropical Parasites -- James H. McKerrow, University of California, San Francisco
  • Raiding the Deep Freeze: The Fexinidazole Story - Robert Don, Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), Geneva, Switzerland
  • Will They Respect You in the Morning: Forging Partnerships with Biotech and Big Pharma -- Jorg J. Mohrle, Medicines for Malaria Venture, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Extending a Hand: Eli Lilly's TB Drug Discovery Partnership -- Gail H. Cassell, Eli Lilly & Co., Indianapolis, IN

The aim of the symposium was to illustrate how industry/public sector collaborations help to bridge what Dr. Earl calls an "innovation gap" for new treatments for infectious diseases of poverty. "Historically, most global health products lacked a profitable market that would justify investing the millions of dollars needed to develop new medicines," he explained. "Additionally, most biotechnology companies lacked experience with the pathogens that afflict poor populations, and were largely unfamiliar with medical practice and pharmaceutical distribution in the developing world. Those barriers, combined with the perceived lack of incentives and management time to devote to non-core activities, conspired to stifle industry investment in global medicines."

"That is all changing, as donors such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, federal agencies such the National Institutes of Health and industry itself are supporting product development collaborations," Dr. Earl continued. "Disease experts are increasingly gaining access to companies' compound libraries, technology platforms, and shelved products, and the result is greater acc
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SOURCE The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
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