GHIT Fund Announces New Investments: A Total of 1.37 Billion Yen in Drugs for Malaria, Chagas Disease, Leishmaniasis, Schistosomiasis, and Soil-Transmitted Helminths, and Diagnostics for Malaria, Buruli Ulcer, and Schistosomiasis
The Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund announced today a total of 1.37 billion yen (US$13 million*) to invest in seven partnerships to develop new lifesaving drugs and diagnostics for malaria, Buruli ulcer, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis, and soil-transmitted helminths (STH). This includes three newly funded projects and four that will receive continued funding.** (Appendix 1 & 2)
“It is tremendously important that research and development (R&D) for neglected diseases, temporarily paused during the spring and summer due to the pandemic, are gradually resuming all over the world,” said GHIT’s CEO and Executive Director, Catherine Ohura.
“In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis and regardless of this pause, product development for malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases has remained our crucial priority. We continue to work with our domestic and overseas product development partners with the same strong sense of urgency. We are proud of our partners’ resilience and unwavering commitment to developing new tools for neglected patients,” she added.
“We are very thrilled about the new investments in clinical stages, such as the development of a treatment for leishmaniasis, entering Phase I trials in humans, and the development of a rapid diagnostic kit for schistosomiasis, using patient specimens in the Philippines and Kenya. Additionally, other investments in the target and discovery stage include such innovative approaches as a recombinant anthelmintic protein drug for STH, rapid diagnostic technology for Buruli ulcer, and compound screening in collaboration with multiple Japanese companies. These new candidates will strengthen our portfolio and provide new hope for patients and healthcare professionals,” Ohura continued.
As of September 29, GHIT’s portfolio includes 50 ongoing projects: 26 discovery projects, 16 preclinical projects and eight clinical trials (Appendix 3). The total amount of investments since 2013 is 22.3 billion yen (US$211 million).
* USD1 = JPY105.36, the approximate exchange rate on August 31, 2020.
** These awarded projects were selected from a number of proposals to the RFP2020-001 for Target Research Platform, Screening Platform, Hit-to-Lead Platform, and Product Development Platform, which was open for applications from November 2019 to March 2020. The GHIT board conducted in June 2020 approved these new investments.