Melbourne, Australia, 30 January 2020 – Today, Thursday, January 30, 2020 marks the first ever World Neglected Tropical Disease Day. It is billed as ‘A New Day in the Fight Against NTDs’ and kicks off a decisive year in the fight against NTDs.
More than 280 organisations have already signed up as Official Partners for this, including Medicines Development for Global Health. We are honoured to be counted on this roster alongside many of the companies we have admired for a long time. The full list of partners can be found here.
More than 1.5 billion individuals are estimated to be at risk of one or more NTDs. That’s approximately 1 in 5 people alive today. As well as a substantial burden of disease, shortened lifespans, disfiguring symptoms and stigma, NTDs contribute to enormous economic disadvantage in parts of the world that are already counted amount the poorest on earth.
2020 also marks a decisive year for MDGH. Our attention is currently focused on advancing the role of moxidectin in 5 NTDs with priority on river blindness (onchocerciasis), which threatens more the 200 million, and scabies (up to 300 million).
Since the approval in 2018 of moxidectin for the treatment of river blindness, we have been working to ensure it is able to fulfill its promise as the elimination tool for this disease. Moxidectin is currently approved for people aged 12 and older in the United States, but to enable its use in the field in endemic countries, we are undertaking a trial in children to the age of 4, exploring annual versus biannual administration and generating larger safety data sets in studies with partners in Africa and Europe. Our goal is to generate additional data to inform the WHO’s expert committees and those in endemic countries, and we are well on track.
We have also initiated a Phase IIa study of moxidectin as a potential treatment for scabies, and have collaborative studies planned or underway in lymphatic filariasis, strongyloides, and the soil transmitted helminths.
World NTD Day is an appropriate time for us all to set out our ambitious goals for our work, but also our longer term goal to see these diseases eliminated one by one. Our role is to enable and play our part to deliver better medicines to those in the field. We are excited that World NTD Day is a great opportunity to fly that flag and acknowledge all the NTD partners working hard to make these diseases history.
About Medicines Development for Global Health
MDGH is a not-for-profit biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. Established in 2005, this unique organization is dedicated to the development of affordable medicines and vaccines for neglected diseases prevalent in low- and middle-income countries. The company works on the development of a portfolio of products, including vaccines, small molecules and biological therapies targeting predominantly infectious, immunologic, and oncologic diseases. For additional information about MDGH, please visit www.medicinesdevelopment.com.