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Spain commits €5 million to DND
March 2008
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MADRID—Spain's Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional in early March granted €5 million to the Geneva-based Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) for essential R&D of drugs for neglected diseases such as human African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease and malaria.

The grant, spread over two years, will provide core funding for DNDi to address the urgent needs of patients suffering from these poverty-related diseases. With a current portfolio of 18 projects, DNDi aims to develop six to eight new, improved, and field-relevant drugs by 2014, including two new malaria treatments that are being delivered in 2008.

"We welcome this important grant and commitment from the Spanish government  to support innovative R&D for the most neglected diseases to make available safe, effective, practical-to-use, and affordable drugs so desperately needed by patients," says Dr. Bernard Pecoul, executive director of DNDi. "This grant will give hope to millions of patients who unacceptably die or suffer from these diseases in the poorest regions of the world."

While the establishment of product development partnerships like DNDi represent an important evolution for neglected diseases research, they have mainly been supported by philanthropic organizations until now, Pecoul notes. For instance, Médecins Sans Frontières catalyzed the creation of DNDi with a 2003 commitment of E25 million.

"By supporting drug research and development for neglected diseases, the Spanish government is significantly contributing in accelerating the fight against neglected diseases," Pecoul says. "This step is an encouraging sign that certain governments are starting to perceive the urgency to invest in R&D on neglected diseases."

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