Novartis, a pharmaceutical company and DNDi, a not–for–profit research and development organization have signed a collaboration and license agreement to jointly develop a new oral treatment for a leading parasitic killer, visceral leishmaniasis.
The oral drug, LXE408, is a first-class compound discovered at Novartis with financial support from the Wellcome Trust.
According to the agreement, Novartis will completing Phase 1 clinical trials as well as drive pharmaceutical development and regulatory submissions.
In addition, DNDi will lead the phase II and phase III of the clinical development scheduled to star in 2021 in India.
Executive Director of DNDi, Dr Bernard pecoul said, “Existing treatments for visceral leishmaniasis are mostly not good enough. They are too long, increasingly ineffective and can be toxic, painful and costly.”
“Our hope is to radically transform this by developing the new oral drugs that are affordable, safe and easy to take and can also be adapted to meet the treatment needs of patients in different countries.”, he added
Dr Lutz Hegemann, chief operating officer for global health at Novartis said, “Novartis has long term commitment to neglected tropical diseases that spans several decades. Diseases caused by Kinetoplastid parasites, such as Leishmaniasis, are one of our strategic research priorities and together worth our partners, we have developed a promising portfolio of drug candidates.”
“We are excited to collaborate with DNDi to reimagine treatment options for people with Leishmaniasis around the world,” he concluded
Leishmaniasis is transmitted by sand fly and affects over one billion people across the world, with estimated 50,000 to 90,000 new cases every year.
Its symptoms include fever, excessive weight loss, spleen and liver enlargement and consequently death, if left untreated.