Merck Partners With Non-Profit For Neglected Diseases Initiative

The pharmaceutical company, Merck, announced Monday it was partnering with the non-profit Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) in an effort to improve treatments for neglected tropical diseases (NTD), the AP/CNBC reports. “The agreement covers drug candidates for illnesses like visceral leishmaniasis and Chagas disease, potentially lethal parasitic illnesses spread by insects. Current treatment for those illnesses may be toxic, or very expensive, or difficult to administer, Merck said,” AP/CNBC writes (AP/CNBC, 6/22).

RTT News reports, “Under terms of the agreement, Merck will contribute small molecule assets and related intellectual property via a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to DNDi to conduct early development programs for drug candidates for the treatment of NTDs like visceral leishmaniasis and Chagas disease” (RTT News, 6/22).

In related news, Xinhua/CRIENGLISH.com reports on an international NTD meeting to be held Tuesday in Nairobi, Kenya. The meeting – sponsored by DNDi – will bring together researchers, clinicians and policymakers from around the world to discuss the latest research and drug development for NTD. “The meeting will also cement DNDi’s partnership with key players such as NGOs and leading African and international experts on infectious and neglected tropical diseases, according to Dr. Monique Wasunna, the assistant director,” the news agency reports (Xinhua/CRIENGLISH.com, 6/22).