Press Release

September 27, 2023

Approximately USD 8 million Investment for New Vaccine and Drug Development against Malaria in Sumitomo Pharma, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma and new product development in NTDs

The Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund announced today an investment of approximately 907 million yen (US$6.2 million1) for the development of a new prophylactic vaccine against malaria and a new anti-malarial drug, and approximately 273 million yen (US$1.8 million1) for multiple product development projects against Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), totaling approximately 1.18 billion yen (US$8.0 million1).2


Malaria is an infectious parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitos that affects approximately 250 million people annually and was responsible for approximately 620,000 deaths in 2021. 3 NTDs are a group of 20 preventable and treatable diseases that affect more than 1.6 billion people4 worldwide, particularly communities in low-income countries. Despite the need for diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics, NTDs are under-researched, under-treated and under-funded. The GHIT Fund invests in new product development with the aim of contributing to global health through Japanese technology and innovation to address these neglected infectious diseases.


Next-generation malaria vaccine in pre-clinical stage by Ehime University, Sumitomo Pharma, EVI, and iBET

The GHIT Fund will invest approximately 573 million yen (US$3.9 million1) for the development of a new asexual-blood stage malaria vaccine by Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd., Ehime University (Japan), European Vaccine Initiative e.V. (EVI e.V.), and a Portuguese non-profit research institution, Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnologica (iBET). Given the modest and short-term efficacy of the most advanced malaria vaccine, promotion of this project will lead to the development of a more effective next-generation vaccine.


The GHIT Fund will also invest approximately 334 million yen (US$2.3 million1) for the anti-malarial drug project by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC), Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), and University of Georgia (UGA) with the aim of delivering a preclinical candidate with a novel mode of action.


In addition, as part of the product development projects towards NTDs, GHIT has decided to invest approximately 150 million yen (US$1.0 million1) for a leprosy vaccine project at a clinical trial stage by Sasakawa Health Foundation, American Leprosy Missions, Inc., and Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC/Fiocruz) and approximately 55 million yen (US$0.3 million1) and 66 million yen (US$0.4 million1), respectively, in a development of diagnostics for schistosomiasis and onchocerciasis by a partnership including Medical & Biological Laboratories Co., Ltd., and an American non-profit company, Drugs & Diagnostics for Tropical Diseases (DDTD).


Dr. Osamu Kunii, CEO of the GHIT Fund, said “We are very pleased to invest in new product development towards malaria and NTDs with strong leadership from Japan and collaboration with our global partners. With the engagement of new partners, we aim to accelerate the product development in the GHIT 3.0 strategy and deliver the new products on the ground as soon as possible.”


As of September 27, 2023, there are 47 ongoing projects, including 19 discovery, 17 preclinical and 11 clinical trials5 in the GHIT Fund’s portfolio. The total amount of investments since 2013 is 30.2 billion yen (US$207 million).



1 USD1 = JPY146.20, the approximate exchange rate on August 31, 2023.

2 These awarded projects were selected and approved as new investments from among proposals to RFP2023-001 for the Product Development Platform, which was open for applications from November 2022 to July 2023.

3 WHO (World Health Organization):

4 Reference: World Health Organization (WHO)

5 This number includes the projects at registration phase.