Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative

Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) 501(c)(3) is a non-profit drug research and development (R&D) organization that is developing new treatments for neglected diseases.

DNDi was founded in 2003 by Médecins Sans Frontières and five public-sector research organizations - Kenya Medical Research Institute, Indian Council of Medical Research, Malaysian Ministry of Health, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Brazil, and France's Institut Pasteur. WHO/TDR serves as a permanent observer to the initiative. DNDi's primary goals are to:

  1. Develop new field-relevant treatments for people suffering from neglected diseases;
  2. Raise awareness through advocacy on research and development of drugs for neglected diseases; and
  3. Strengthen existing research capacity in countries where neglected diseases are endemic.


Current projects

DNDi uses a "needs-driven" approach that facilitates basic science, preclinical, and clinical research on targeted diseases. The organization’s current target diseases include malaria and the three most neglected diseases known as the kinetoplastids: visceral leishmaniasis (VL), sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis / HAT), and Chagas disease. Causing over 1 million deaths annually, malaria is the leading parasitic cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. This burden is largely carried by developing countries where it has serious economic and social costs.[1] A potentially fatal disease, VL is present in 62 countries, with 200 million people at risk and 500,000 new cases each year. Therapeutic options for VL are limited as there are significant drawbacks like route of administration, toxicity, or cost.[2] HAT, a fatal disease if not treated, threatens more than 50 million people in 36 countries and has limited treatment options. Current treatment options for HAT are limited by severe toxicity, decreasing efficacy and complicated modes of administration.[3] For Chagas disease, which infects 13 million and puts 100 million at risk in Central and South America, drugs are needed to treat both acute and chronic disease, as are safer and more effective drugs adapted to patient needs.[4]

See also

  • The Neglected Diseases
  • Chagas: Time to Treat campaign
  • Bernard Pecoul
  • Fexinidazole


  1. ^ http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/
  2. ^ Desjeux P. (2001). "The increase of risk factors for leishmaniasis worldwide". Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 95 (3): 239-43. doi:10.1016/S0035-9203(01)90223-8
  3. ^ World Health Organization
  4. ^ Ribeiro I, Sevcsik A-M, Alves F, Diap G, Don R, et al. 2009 New, Improved Treatments for Chagas Disease: From the R&D Pipeline to the Patients. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 3(7): e484. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000484

External links and publications

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