September 27, 2021

[Session 2] GHIT Fund - Product Development Partnerships (PDPs) Webinar Series

COVID-19 has drawn unprecedented global attention to the value of innovation for life-threatening infectious diseases. The extraordinary speed of pandemic tool development over the past year demonstrates the innovation and scale that is possible when stakeholders are incentivized to collaborate meaningfully despite unprecedented challenges in their path. We at GHIT are committed to leveraging the power of this potential for R&D for neglected diseases.


Over the last two decades, product development partnerships (PDPs), international, non-for-profit organizations that develop health technologies—drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, vector controls, and devices—for neglected diseases, have played a pivotal role in the global health R&D ecosystem. PDPs have successfully registered and launched more than 85 new innovative life-saving products that have been in LMICs. Recognizing the unique capabilities and strengths of these entities, GHIT has catalyzed and invested in partnerships between PDPs and Japanese entities since 2013 dedicated to creating innovative products for malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by harnessing untapped chemical/natural compounds, technologies and innovations in Japan. The results include multiple promising candidates in GHIT’s portfolio, several of which will emerge from the pipeline in the next couple of years.


To maintain momentum and foster dialogue about the R&D community’s role, challenges, and opportunities in the fight against neglected diseases during/post COVID-19 pandemic era, GHIT will convene a set of webinar series in FY2021. Webinars will feature leaders from PDPs and their Japanese partners and address the critical role of PDPs today and tomorrow, innovative R&D partnerships for neglected diseases, as well as responses to future global health threats by utilizing their expertise, portfolios, and partner networks.


[Language] English (Simultaneous interpretation to Japanese)

[Fee] Free

[Sponsors] Japan alliance on Global NTDs (JAGntd), Japan Association of Clinical Reagents Industries, Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (JPMA), Japanese Association for Infectious Diseases, Japanese Society of Parasitology, Japanese Society of Tropical Medicine, Japanese Society for Vaccinology


Session 2 Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi): Innovative partnerships for the most neglected

[Date/Time] October 20, 2021 from 5:00 - 6:30 pm (JST)

[Registration] https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_UR2Lca4qSjimGi1wHSCtEw



5:00 - 5:05 pm: Opening & Introduction

5:05 - 5:30 pm: Presentation by Dr. Byron Arana & Ms. Kaori Nakatani, DNDi

5:30 - 5:45 pm: Presentation by Dr. Ken Ishii, University of Tokyo

5:45 - 6:00 pm: Presentation by Ms. Tomomi Kimura, GeneDesign, Ajinomoto Bio-Pharma Services

6:00 - 6:20 pm: Panel Discussion

6:20 - 6:30 pm: Q&A Session

6:30 pm: End of Webinar



Dr. Byron Arana, Head of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Disease, DNDi

Dr Byron Arana received his medical training at the Universidad San Carlos of Guatemala (1983) and his doctoral degree on Tropical Medicine from the University of Liverpool, UK (1998). Since 2013, Dr Arana has been serving as Head of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Disease at Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), based in Geneva, Switzerland. Between 2008-2013, Dr Arana was in charge of managing clinical trials on visceral leishmaniasis that TDR-WHO was supporting in the Indian Subcontinent and participating in development and implementation of strategies in support of the Indian subcontinent’s visceral leishmaniasis elimination programme. From 2000 to 2008, Dr Arana served as Co-Director of the Center for Health Studies, at Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Guatemala and managed the first cooperative agreement between Universidad del Valle de Guatemala and the Center for Diseases Control (CDC), Atlanta, to support the conduction of multidisciplinary field and laboratory research on tropical disease in the Central America region. Dr Arana has over 25 years’ experience working on clinical trials and epidemiological studies, mainly in cutaneous leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis, diarrheal, and respiratory diseases.


Ms. Kaori Nakatani, Head of Office, DNDi Japan

Kaori Nakatani started her career in a non-profit organization in Japan, then worked for international organizations such as UNAIDS, and public organizations such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). In Africa, the Caribbean and Southeast Asian countries, she has been involved in a wide range of projects such as project management, technical cooperation, and capacity development in the fields of public health, infectious diseases, and universal health coverage. For four years starting from 2013, she worked for JICA Myanmar Office as a health expert, leading international organizations and European donor cooperation, and engaged in a wide range of tasks including giving advice to Japanese private companies on market development in Myanmar. Most recently, she was engaged in a JICA technical cooperation project in Thailand to improve universal health coverage systems in Japan and Thailand. She joined DNDi in January 2020 as Head of Office, DNDi Japan.


Prof. Ken Ishii, Professor, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo

Dr. Ken Ishii is currently Director for International Vaccine Design Center, and Professor of Vaccine Science Division at Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo. Until 2018, he was Director of Center for Vaccine and Adjuvant Research at National Institute of Biomedical Innovation, Health and Nutrition. Prof. Ishii obtained M.D. and a Ph.D. from the School of Medicine, Yokohama City University, Kanagawa, Japan. He is further qualified with his years of experience in vaccine research supported by numerous books and over 200 periodical publications and 20,000 citations since 1998 including 7 years as a IND reviewer at US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), two years as Managing Director at Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED), and over 20 years as an immunologist and vaccinologist.


Ms. Tomomi Kimura, Deputy Manager of Sales & Technical Support, GeneDesign, Ajinomoto Bio-Pharma Services

Tomomi Kimura is the deputy manager of sales and technical supports for Ajinomoto Bio-Pharma Services in Osaka and has been in charge of over 20 clients, both domestic and overseas. Tomomi has a Master’s degree in Agriculture from Hiroshima University. She had worked for a western pharmaceutical company as a QC microbiologist for 3 years since 2012. While she had taken responsibility for release tests of injectable drug products and also for monitoring environments. Tomomi joined the Ajinomoto Bio-Pharma in 2015 and has experienced a lot of sales and project management with oligonucleotide developers. The company is an Osaka based oligonucleotide CDMO (Contract Development Manufacturing Organization), has started the partnership with DNDi since 2016.  



Replay past webinars on the GHIT Fund Youtube channel.


Seminar 1 Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV): Developing Life-Saving Antimalarials Through Global Partnerships