Participation in the Neglected Tropical Diseases Drug Discovery Booster

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

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.

Through the consortium, Astellas will contribute to the discovery of new drugs for patients suffering from leishmaniasis and Chagas disease. 

*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.

Advisory to the collaborative research for discovery of new drugs against Chagas disease

From October 2018 until March 2020, Astellas was engaged as an advisor to the collaborative research project, “Exploratory research aiming to determine target molecules for discovery of new drugs against Chagas disease.” The project has been conducted by Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University (NEKKEN) together with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK), and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).