GHIT Fund Announces New Investments: A Total of 2.3 Billion Yen in Drugs for Malaria, Tuberculosis, Chagas Disease and Visceral Leishmaniasis, Vaccine for Malaria and Diagnostics for Tuberculosis
The Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund announced today a total of approximately 2.3 billion yen (US$21 million*) to invest in four partnerships to develop new lifesaving drugs for malaria, tuberculosis, Chagas disease and visceral leishmaniasis, a vaccine for malaria and diagnostics for tuberculosis. This includes four new projects and six projects that will receive continued funding** (Appendix 1 & 2).
“AnAPN1, a new transmission-blocking vaccine (TBV) candidate that could block parasite transmission of P. falciparum and P. vivax in different Anopheles species from humans to mosquitoes, is currently preparing for Phase I human trials in Gabon, Africa. The development of a TBV is essential to prevent the spread of antimalarial drug-resistant parasites, and as a next-generation malaria vaccine that can directly support the malaria eradication effort. In addition, we are happy to announce that discovery projects in collaboration with Japanese pharmaceutical companies and universities with product development partnerships including the Medicines for Malaria venture (Geneva), TB Alliance (New York), and Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (Geneva) have advanced to the next stages, beyond screening and/or lead identification. To strengthen our diagnostics portfolio, we invested in the development of a new tuberculosis rapid diagnostic kit with the aim to further improve sensitivity and specificity, regardless of HIV infection.
In the first half of the 2020 fiscal year, COVID-19 impacted our product development partners’ R&D progress. However, their tireless efforts and commitment, combined with the continued support of our funding partners, we were able to make an investment of approximately 4.16 billion yen in fiscal year 2020 in total. We will continue to work closely with our stakeholders to advance product development for neglected patients around the globe.” said GHIT’s CEO and Executive Director Catherine Ohura.
As of March 31, GHIT’s portfolio includes 57 ongoing projects, including 30 in discovery stages, 20 in preclinical and seven in clinical trials (Appendix 3). The total amount of investments since 2013 is 25.1 billion yen (US$236 million).
* USD1 = JPY106.25, the approximate exchange rate on February 26, 2021.
** These awarded projects were selected from a number of proposals to the RFP2020-002 for Target Research Platform, Screening Platform, Hit-to-Lead Platform, and Product Development Platform, which was open for applications from June 2020 to January 2021. The GHIT board conducted in February 2021 approved these new investments. In addition, several projects approved in June 2020 (RFP2020-001) were also included in this press release.