Daiichi Sankyo Announces Collaborative Research with DNDi on Drugs for Neglected Tropical Diseases

Daiichi Sankyo has renewed a joint research agreement with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (hereinafter, "DNDi") with regard to a new research program, the Lead Optimization Project, with the aim of developing innovative drug treatments for Chagas disease, one of the neglected tropical diseases. This collaborative project is funded through the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (hereinafter, "GHIT Fund") Product Development Platform and will receive approximately 430 million yen over a period of two years.

Chagas disease (also known as American trypanosomiasis) is a disease transmitted to humans and animals through insects (reduviid) which can carry protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, and is potentially life-threatening if left untreated. The disease is endemic mainly in Latin America, and about six to seven million people worldwide are estimated to be infected. Since there is neither a vaccine nor a medicine without serious side effects, there is a dire need for a new treatment to address Chagas disease.

By mobilizing Daiichi Sankyo’s pharmaceutical capabilities, DNDi’s high level of technical expertise in the field of neglected diseases, and GHIT Fund’s investment capabilities and global network, the three organizations are expected to work as one team on the research into drug discovery and development, and deliver a new, innovative drug to patients affected by Chagas disease worldwide as quickly as possible.

By developing and producing pharmaceutical agents and improving access to healthcare in developing countries, such as this collaborative research into the discovery and development of drugs for Chagas disease, Daiichi Sankyo is continuing its contribution towards the third Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) set by the United Nations: ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Through these activities, Daiichi Sankyo continues to contribute to the enrichment of quality of life around the world, as set in its mission.

Background of Daiichi Sankyo’s collaborative research with DNDi

In February 2016, Daiichi Sankyo and DNDi launched a High-Throughput Screening (HTS) project of approximately 40,000 compounds from Daiichi Sankyo with the goal of discovering anti-leishmaniasis and anti-Chagas disease compounds, and subsequently identified three compound series. In April 2017, the project progressed into a Hit-to-Lead Project to develop derivatives from these three compound series, and new lead compounds were successfully identified. Based on the results of these previous projects, Daiichi Sankyo has signed this agreement to advance the project to a Lead Optimization Project with the aim of producing new clinical candidates for drug treatments of the Chagas disease from April 2020. This collaborative project has been funded through the GHIT Fund since its launch.

About Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi)

Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a collaborative, patients’ needs-driven, non-profit drug research and development (R&D) organization that is developing new treatments for neglected diseases. DNDi focuses on discovering and developing treatments for sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis), Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, filarial infections, mycetoma, paediatric HIV, and hepatitis C. Since its inception in 2003, DNDi has developed eight new treatments for neglected diseases with several new drug candidates in the R&D pipeline. DNDi’s objective is to deliver 16 to 18 new treatments by 2023, ensure equitable access to these treatments, and build a robust pipeline of new drug candidates.


About Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund)

The GHIT Fund is Japan-based international public-private partnership fund (PPP) between the government of Japan, multiple pharmaceutical companies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The GHIT Fund invests and manages an R&D portfolio of development partnerships aimed at neglected diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases that afflict the world’s vulnerable and underserved populations. The GHIT Fund mobilizes the Japanese industry, academia, and research institutes to create new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases, in collaboration with global partners.

For more information on World Cancer Day, please visit:


Collaborative Research Team

Collaborative Research Team