GHIT Fund Announces New Investments: A Total of Approximately 260 Million Yen in Shionogi, Takeda Pharmaceutical for New Malaria Drug Development
The Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund announced today an investment totaling approximately 260 million yen (US$1.9 million1) for the research and development of a new malaria drug. This investment will help identify multiple promising compounds in the early stages of research and development. (Appendix 1)
Malaria is an infectious parasitic disease that affects approximately 250 million people annually and was responsible for approximately 620,000 deaths in 2021. The World Health Organization（WHO）has set the target for reducing global malaria infections and deaths by at least 90% from 2015 levels by 20302 with a goal to ultimately eliminate malaria. However, recent progress in reducing annual deaths has stalled due to complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
GHIT Fund will invest approximately 130 million yen (US$0.97 million1) in Shionogi & Co., Ltd (Shionogi), Nagasaki University, and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) for a project to develop new antimalarial drugs, along with approximately another 130 million yen (US$X0.96million1) in Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Takeda Pharmaceutical) and MMV’s synthetic research on novel antimalarial drugs.
“GHIT Fund supports the research and development of new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics to contribute to efforts to control and eradicate malaria” said Dr. Osamu Kunii, GHIT Fund CEO. “We hope that Japanese pharmaceutical companies along with research institutes will progress in the development of new drugs together with overseas partners. In particular, GHIT Fund has high expectations for the highly unique industry-academia collaboration between Shionogi and Nagasaki University aimed at developing a new antimalarial drug, a partnership based on the ‘comprehensive collaboration in the field of infectious diseases centered on malaria’ which was launched in February, 2019.”
Also, at the same time, GHIT Fund invested approximately 15 million yen (US$0.1 million1) in Daiichi Sankyo RD Novare Co., Ltd. and the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) for a tuberculosis screening program.
As of March 13, 2023, there are 51 ongoing projects, including 25 discovery, 14 preclinical and 12 clinical trials3 in the GHIT portfolio. The total amount of investments since 2013 is 28.7 billion yen (US$210 million).
1 USD1 = JPY136.34, the approximate exchange rate on February 28, 2023.
2 WHO (World Health Organization): https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/malaria
3 These awarded projects were selected and approved as new investments from a number of proposals to the RFP2022-002 for Screening Platform and Hit-to-Lead Platform, which was open for applications from July 2022 to January 2023.