Medicines Development for Global Health receives $16M grant to progress two important global health medicines: moxidectin and dovramilast

June 21, 2024

Medicines Development for Global Health receives $16M grant to progress two important global health medicines: moxidectin and dovramilast

Medicines Development for Global Health (MDGH) announces that it has received a AU$16M (~US$10.7M) grant from the Australian Government to advance the development and delivery of moxidectin for scabies and lymphatic filariasis and dovramilast for leprosy type 2 reaction.

Scabies, lymphatic filariasis and leprosy type 2 reaction negatively impact the lives of hundreds of millions of people globally and have some of the highest reported prevalence rates in the Indo-Pacific region. People suffering these disfiguring diseases have their ability to work, attend school or to provide for their families affected and endure stigma that compounds the disadvantage of already vulnerable individuals and communities.

The five years of funding will support activities that are critical to the successful development of these medicines, including:

·      two key clinical trials – moxidectin for lymphatic filariasis, and dovramilast for acute or recurrent leprosy type 2 reaction

·      a community consultation in support of a potential future clinical study of moxidectin for scabies

·      the manufacture of dovramilast

·      stability studies to extend the shelf-life of bottled moxidectin – an important consideration for large-scale distribution programs to reduce waste and improve usability

·      activities to support equitable access to these medicines.

The funding is awarded through the Partnerships for a Healthy Region initiative. This initiative is aimed at building resilient and equitable health systems in the Pacific and Southeast Asia and supporting partner countries to reduce disease and respond effectively to health emergencies.

Mark Sullivan AO, Managing Director said, “Medicines Development for Global Health is the only member of the product development partnership alliance headquartered in the Indo-Pacific. We are delighted and grateful to receive the Australian Government’s support to develop these essential medicines for neglected diseases impacting our region and more broadly. Moxidectin and dovramilast have the potential to improve the lives of over one billion people and this funding is an essential part of developing these medicines to deliver upon that promise.”



About Medicines Development for Global Health

MDGH is a not-for-profit, independent biopharmaceutical organisation headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. Established in 2005, MDGH is dedicated to the development of new and improved medicines for diseases that disproportionately affect people in low-and middle-income countries. For additional information about MDGH, please visit our website.

About lymphatic filariasis, leprosy type 2 reaction and scabies

Lymphatic filariasis is a painful and debilitating disease caused by a parasitic roundworm transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitos. Inside the human body, the worms (microfilariae) travel through the lymphatic system, often undetected, and mature into adult worms that produce millions of progeny. Eventually this infection causes abnormal enlargement including of the arms and legs (lymphoedema). The World Health Organization (WHO) South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions currently account for 31 of 72 countries endemic for lymphatic filariasis, with 59.5% of the population at risk of infection, 85.9% of reported lymphoedema cases and 75.6% of reported hydrocoele (swelling of the scrotum) cases globally.

Leprosy type 2 reaction (also known as erythema nodosum leprosum) is an immune-mediated response to leprosy infection and is characterised by fever and the presence of inflamed and painful skin nodules. If left untreated, leprosy type 2 reaction can result in irreversible nerve damage and deformities. In 2019, the WHO reported over 3,600 new leprosy type 2 reaction cases in the South-East Asian region, a figure likely to be an underestimate.

Scabies is a common ectoparasitic skin infestation caused by a tiny mite that burrows into the skin where it lays its eggs. Intense itching results, which can cause serious discomfort and significantly impair quality of life. In cases where the skin is broken by repeated scratching, more serious consequences are possible, including bacterial infections which may ultimately contribute to sepsis, kidney disease and heart valve damage. Scabies is highly prevalent in many countries in the Indo-Pacific. In Australia, Aboriginal children consistently experience higher rates of skin infections, including scabies, than non-Aboriginal children.

About moxidectin and dovramilast

Moxidectin is a broad spectrum anti-parasitic medicine that is approved or under development for the treatment of six diseases that disproportionately affect vulnerable communities. These diseases include lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis (river blindness), scabies and soil transmitted helminths (intestinal worms). Together, these diseases impact the lives of over 1,000,000,000 people globally.  

Dovramilast, a phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor, is under development for leprosy type 2 reaction and tuberculosis, diseases that have been effectively eradicated in high-income countries but which remain prevalent, with devastating consequences, for the communities they impact in low- and middle-income countries.

More information: Our pipeline

About the Partnerships for a Healthy Region initiative

Please visit Partnerships for a Healthy Region website        

Announcement from the Australian Government

Enhancing health security across our region