Partnerships Under Recently Launched GHIT Fund Will Search For Neglected Disease Treatments

“Five top Japanese drug companies are to open their ‘libraries’ of experimental compounds to scrutiny by scientists hunting new treatments for malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases affecting the world’s poor,” Reuters reports (Hirschler, 5/30). The public-private Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund) “was set up in April and brings together Japan’s foreign affairs and health and welfare ministries, a consortium of five pharmaceutical companies, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” according to Science Insider. The GHIT Fund is “working with established nonprofits — the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) — to help develop candidate drugs,” the news service notes (Normile, 5/30).

“The move marks an important shift for Japan’s drug companies, which have traditionally been less focused on emerging markets or involved like their western counterparts in partnerships to develop medicines for the poor,” the Financial Times writes (Jack, 5/27). BT Slingsby, executive director of the fund, said the series of agreements being announced at the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development “are just the first of what we expect will be many global health partnerships facilitated and funded by the GHIT Fund that tap into Japan’s enormous capacity for innovation and technology,” according to a GHIT Fund press release (5/30).