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Pfizer, DNDi Partner To Identify NTD Drugs; Sanofi-Aventis, Medicines For Malaria Launch Drug Study

Pfizer and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) on Wednesday announced plans to team up in an effort to identify new drug candidates for the treatment of three tropical diseases, the Associated Press/Business Week reports. The scientists will test the efficacy of Pfizer drug candidates against sleeping sickness, visceral leishmaniasis, and Chagas disease.

According to Pfizer and DNDi, Chagas disease infects 8 million people and kills 14,000 each year. “They estimated that sleeping sickness and visceral leishmaniasis kill almost 100,000 people per year combined,” the news service writes. “Available treatments for the illnesses can be expensive and highly toxic, and some of them do not treat all phases of the respective diseases” (11/18).

“Despite considerable progress made in recent years, these three diseases continue to take a terrible human toll and represent a significant social burden for developing countries,” Manos Perros, vice president and chief scientific officer of antivirals research, Pfizer Global Research & Development, said in a written statement. “We are expanding our commitment to the fight against tropical diseases by joining forces with DNDi by sharing our collection of chemical compounds and the knowledge and expertise associated with these chemical entities” (11/18).

“DNDi will have access to a library of 150,000 compounds that it will test against the three diseases, seeking compounds that work against the parasites,” Drug Store News reports. “DNDi scientists will conduct the tests for human African trypanosomiasis at the Eskitis Institute for Cell and Molecular Therapies at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, while tests for the other two diseases will take place at the Institut Pasteur Korea” (DeArment, 11/18).

Sanofi-Aventis, Medicines for Malaria Venture To Launch Study Of Antimalarial Drug

MarketWatch reports that drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis and Medicines for Malaria Venture “will launch the largest safety and efficacy study of an antimalarial drug. A field-monitoring program on ASAQ, a fixed-dose combination of artesunate and amodiaquine, started in Côte d’Ivoire in October” (Turner, 11/19).