Message from Leadership
Covid-19 has drawn unprecedented global attention to the value of innovation for life-threatening infectious diseases. The extraordinary speed of pandemic product development over the past year demonstrates the innovation and scale that is possible when stakeholders are incentivized to collaborate meaningfully, despite enormous challenges in their path. We at GHIT are committed to leveraging the power of this potential for R&D for neglected diseases. Over the past year, our development partners across the globe have demonstrated incredible tenacity, creativity, and grit in the face of global challenges.
We recognize that it is GHIT’s duty to double down on our commitment to innovation in service to the communities that grapple daily with the threat and consequences of neglected diseases, and which are experiencing even more strain as a result of the pandemic. We know our partners and stakeholders share our steadfast commitment to continue to be a source of hope, inspiration, and collaboration in the fight against neglected diseases.
R&D: Keeping our foot on the pedal
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, product development for malaria, tuberculosis (TB), and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) has remained our – and our partners’ – crucial priority. In FY 2020, GHIT invested USD 41.6 million in 22 innovative projects, which further strengthens our pipeline and provides new hope for patients and healthcare professionals in low-and middle-income countries. We successfully expanded our portfolio, especially innovative point-of-care diagnostics tools. Even in this difficult time, 15 new partners have joined us to accelerate R&D for neglected diseases. As of March 2021, our aggregate investments to date total USD 251 million in 101 projects. Our current portfolio features 23 discovery projects, 22 preclinical projects, and 7 clinical trials including 2 diagnostics field validation studies are in our portfolio. The World Health Organization (WHO)’s endorsement and/or approval from a stringent regulatory authority of our most advanced clinical candidates, including a urine-based rapid TB diagnostic kit and a pediatric formulation of the gold-standard drug for schistosomiasis, are in sight. At the same time, we are actively discussing access and delivery strategies for late-stage clinical candidates with our development partners to ensure patients and healthcare professionals have access to innovative tools.
Notably, SILVAMPTM TBLAM’s proprietary silver amplification immunochromatography, was repurposed for the development of an antigen test kit for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis. While GHIT does not invest in product development for COVID-19, this is a remarkable example of how GHIT-invested innovation can also be utilized beyond its initial critical scope - for other infectious diseases and how peacetime investments in innovative technologies and scientific advancement prepares the globe against future threats.
Strategic Plan 2.0 and beyond
In the third year of our second five-year operational plan (FY 2018-2022), we are steadily approaching our goals of GHIT’s Strategic Plan 2.0. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, GHIT and our partners have progressed steadily through R&D milestones and are focused on meeting our original targets. Beyond our strategic targets, these efforts represent the foundation for GHIT 3.0 (FY 2023-2027), which will enable the candidates in our current portfolio to flourish further.
Looking forward, with gratitude
As we continue to mobilize our network, knowledge, and experience in ever more creative and flexible ways to advance progress and ensure continuity, we are deeply honored by the partnership, solidarity, and support of our stakeholders. We are more inspired than ever to push harder, further, and with compassion toward our common goals, #Together.
Hiroki Nakatani, MD, PhD, MHPEdChair & Representative Director