Developing World Health (DWH), a leading medical charity based in Stirlingshire, Scotland and committed to developing effective treatments for neglected tropical diseases, has signed a collaboration agreement with the internationally respected Consortium for Parasitic Drug Development (CPDD), based at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The collaboration agreement to develop new drugs is believed to be the first between a UK medical charity and international scientific consortium focused on neglected tropical diseases.
An estimated 16% of the world's population suffer from one or more neglected tropical diseases - with 90% of cases recorded in Africa.
The agreement may prove highly lucrative, potentially generating in excess of $15 million investment in drug development for NTDs that urgently need safe and effective new treatments. Referring to the collaboration agreement with CPDD, Dr Stuart WG Smith, Founder and CEO of Scottish medical charity Developing World Health, commented: "Developing World Health's objective is to facilitate the development of new treatments for NTDs. This collaboration will mean that we can expedite the development of novel treatments and help save the lives of many more children and adults afflicted by the scourge of NTD's."
Dr Rick Tidwell, Director of the Consortium for Parasitic Drug Development (CPDD) based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, commented: "This is a very welcome and exciting strategic partnership and brings together additional expertise to increase funding and collaboration opportunities for the Consortium and enhance the rapid development of novel treatments for NTDs such as African sleeping sickness and leishmaniasis."
The partnership means DWH and CPDD can effectively source funding from commercial, government and not-for-profit organisations to develop and / or improve effective treatments for preventable, treatable diseases like leishmaniasis, African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis) and Dengue.
The partnership enables the charity to bridge the 'missing link' between academics requiring research funding and the pharmaceutical industry interested in tackling these devastating tropical diseases.
The CPDD currently has in its portfolio, a novel compound shown to be 100% curative in models of late-stage stage African Trypanosomiasis ("sleeping sickness"). This disease is caused by microscopic parasites of the species Trypanosoma brucei and is transmitted by the tsetse fly found only in rural Africa. Currently, about 10,000 new cases each year are reported to the World Health Organization. However, it is believed that many cases go undiagnosed and unreported. Sleeping sickness is fatal if left untreated.
The CPDD brings together some of the world's top experts in drug development and delivery from UNC-Chapel Hill, Georgia State University, the University of Glasgow, Ohio State University, the Swiss Tropical Institute, and the Kenya Trypanosomiasis Research Institute among others.