Report Shows Growing Industry Effort on Most Neglected Diseases

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) has published a new edition of its Status Report on Pharmaceutical Industry R&D for Diseases of the Developing World. The new report shows that the number of medicine and vaccine projects undertaken by companies with product development partnerships or on their own has increased 67, up from 58 in November 2007.

Fred Hassan, president of the IFPMA and chairman and CEO of Schering-Plough, commented, “It is very gratifying to see the number of projects for diseases of the developing world continue to grow. This reflects the long-term commitment of our industry to addressing these important unmet medical needs and to the patients who will benefit from new therapies.”

During the course of 2008, eight R&D projects involving companies were stopped, mainly due to lack of efficacy or unacceptable side effects. Despite that, the total number of active projects has continued to grow, underlining the pharmaceutical industry’s commitment to help create new medicines to address diseases of the developing world. Tuberculosis and malaria still to attract the bulk of the IFPMA members’ efforts. At the same time, the number of projects addressing other developing world diseases has increased during this year from eight to 11.

Ongoing medicine R&D projects have increased from 50 to 58, while the range of active vaccine projects expanded from eight to nine. Sleeping sickness projects have grown from one to three, and leishmaniasis projects from one to two. There were no projects for Chagas disease involving member companies active in 2007; now there are two. Several leads in Dengue research have unfortunately turned out to be not worth pursuing, but a reduction in the number of active projects for this disease has not prevented an overall growth in projects for the “more neglected” diseases -- the ones other than tuberculosis and malaria.

The 2008 report also shows that the industry is becoming more collaborative in its approach to developing world disease R&D, with 49 projects now being undertaken in conjunction with product development partnerships, compared to 18 by companies on their own. In 2007, the number of company-only projects was just slightly smaller than that of joint projects with product development partnerships.

Source: International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations

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