Novartis to invest $250 mln in tropical disease drug research

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Novartis endorses the Kigali Declaration on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and announces a five-year financial commitment of $250 million to the fight against NTDs and malaria in conjunction with the Kigali Summit on Malaria and NTDs alongside the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting.

The spending is part of Novartis’ endorsement of the Kigali Declaration, a commitment to end neglected tropical diseases that is being announced at a summit in Kigali, Rwanda. The declaration focuses on securing resources to combat diseases like Dengue fever, Chagas disease and leishmaniasis, which predominantly affect people in countries near the equator, particularly those in impoverished communities.

“Over the past decade, great progress has been made against NTDs, but there is still a lot more work to be done. Novartis will continue to progress our longstanding commitment to helping realize a world free of NTDs,” said Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis. “Today, by endorsing the Kigali Declaration and pledging to invest USD 250 million, we aim to accelerate progress toward elimination of these diseases, which continue to cause suffering and stigma for millions of people around the globe.”

Unlike other, more common infectious diseases like HIV, tuberculosis or malaria, neglected tropical diseases receive less attention and garner fewer research dollars. Still, a few big pharmaceutical companies like Novartis, Pfizer and GSK do invest in R&D, albeit at low levels compared to other disease areas.

Novartis has been involved in neglected tropical disease research for at least a decade and has a center that works with nonprofits and other academic partners. The center, called the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases, focuses in particular on malaria, cryptosporidiosis and a group of diseases caused by parasites known as kinetoplastids.

Novartis is a global healthcare company based in Switzerland that provides solutions to address the evolving needs of patients worldwide.

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