Research Activities on NTDs

Contributing to Neglected Tropical Diseases Drug Discovery

Main targets
Creating innovation

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are mainly parasitic, bacterial, viral or fungal infections prevalent among people living in poverty in developing nations in tropical and subtropical regions. At least 1 billion people worldwide are reported to be infected with the 20 NTDs listed by the World Health Organization (WHO), many of which cause serious social difficulties.

Astellas is working with external partners on collaborative research to discover new drugs for the treatment of NTDs.

Participation in NTDs Drug Discovery Booster

In March 2018, Astellas participated in the Neglected Tropical Diseases Drug Discovery Booster*1, a consortium established to identify lead compounds*2 for leishmaniasis and Chagas disease, both of which are neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Through this consortium, Astellas will contribute to the discovery of new drugs for patients suffering from leishmaniasis and Chagas disease.
The consortium is supported by funding from the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (“GHIT Fund”).

*1 Neglected Tropical Diseases Drug Discovery Booster: A consortium launched by the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), a not-for-profit organization engaged in the development of new treatments for neglected diseases. In addition to Astellas, seven pharmaceutical companies, specifically Eisai Co., Ltd., Shionogi & Co., Ltd., Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, AstraZeneca plc., Celgene Corporation, Merck KGaA and AbbVie, also participate in the consortium as partners.
*2 Lead compound: A compound with confirmed pharmacological activity against a target disease. Optimization research (for improvement of activity, physical properties, pharmacokinetics, toxicity, etc.) is conducted based on lead compounds.

Involvement in Collaborative Research on New Chagas Disease Drugs

From November 2021 until September 2023, Astellas is engaged as an advisor to the collaborative research project "Autophagy as a novel drug-development target for Chagas disease." The project has been conducted by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) together with the Non-profit organization Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative.