Eisai Enters Global Agreement with Broad Institute to Develop New Drugs for
Neglected Tropical Diseases and Tuberculosis
Drug Discovery Project for Chagas Disease Awarded Ghit Fund Grant
Tokyo, Nov 8, 2013 - (JCN Newswire) - Eisai Co., Ltd. announced today that it
has entered into a global agreement with the Broad Institute (Cambridge,
Massachusetts, United States, "Broad"), a collaborative research
facility that includes researchers from Harvard University and the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to jointly discover and develop
new therapeutic agents for the treatment of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)
Under the agreement, Eisai and Broad will collaborate together on drug
discovery initiatives toward novel treatments for NTDs and tuberculosis through
optimization of compounds screened from Broad's chemical library. The
first project will conduct drug discovery research aimed at the creation of a
novel treatment for Chagas disease, an NTD. Chagas disease is transmitted by
the bite of the assassin bug or vinchuca and is particularly endemic in poorer
areas of Latin America and the Caribbean. Approximately 8 million people are
believed to carry the disease and 100 million people are estimated to be living
in endemic areas. In Latin America alone, about 14,000 people die from Chagas
disease on average each year, meaning that the development of a novel treatment
for this disease exists as a high unmet medical need.
This first project for the treatment of Chagas disease has also been awarded a
grant for partial funding by the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT
Fund), an international nonprofit organization (NPO) that aims to promote the
discovery of new health technologies from Japan for eliminating infectious
diseases prevalent in developing countries. Eisai and Broad will use the grant
toward the project's implementation.
Eisai is committed to contributing to the improvement of public healthcare for
people in emerging countries and the developing world and the expansion of
economic development, the middle class and other factors that benefit those
regions. The company considers this commitment as a long-term investment in its
future and as such is an active participant in initiatives that focus on
overcoming issues related to access to medicines in order to combat infectious
diseases, including NTDs. In addition, Eisai is moving ahead with multiple new
drug development projects targeting malaria and NTDs such as Chagas disease and
the leishmaniases, based on its partnerships with international NPOs such as
the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) and Sabin Vaccine Institute
as well as Brazil's national research agency, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation.
The company remains actively committed to continuing the above and other
initiatives to ensure access to medicines in emerging and developing countries
in order to better contribute to increasing the benefits provided to patients
and their families throughout those regions.
1. About Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NTDs blight the lives of
more than 1 billion of the world's poorest 2.4 billion people. There are
149 countries and territories where NTDs are endemic, at least 100 of which are
endemic for 2 or more of these diseases, and 30 countries and territories of
which are endemic for 6 or more. These diseases not only survive and spread in
conditions of poverty but also anchor large populations in poverty. (NTDs
designated by WHO for control or elimination: Buruli ulcer, Chagas disease,
cysticercosis / teniasis, dengue / severe dengue, dracunculiasis [guinea-worm
disease], echinococcosis, food-borne trematodiases [fascioliasis], human
African trypanosomiasis [sleeping sickness], the leishmaniases, leprosy,
lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis [river blindness], rabies,
schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases, trachoma and yaws [endemic
2. About Chagas Disease
Transmitted by the bite of the assassin bug or vinchuca, Chagas disease is a
public health problem, particularly in poorer areas of Latin America and the
Caribbean. About 8 million people are believed to carry the disease and 100
million people are estimated to live in endemic areas. Furthermore, the number
of diagnosed cases has been increasing in recent years due to population
mobility to areas classified as being nonendemic for Chagas disease such as
Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, and the United States.
Chagas disease has acute, asymptomatic and chronic phases; the chronic phase
falls into a chronic asymptomatic phase and a chronic phase with organ
dysfunction. The acute phase usually occurs unnoticed, but in cases of
symptomatic acute Chagas disease, nonspecific symptoms such as fever, fatigue
and swollen lymph nodes develop, which resolve spontaneously within about 4 to
6 weeks. In the asymptomatic phase, no apparent symptoms are observed and it
often takes several decades to progress to the chronic phase. In the chronic
phase, the central nervous, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular systems are
affected in 10 percent to 30 percent of infected people, and peripheral
neuropathy, cardiomyopathy, megacolon, or megaesophagus may be observed. If
infected people are left untreated, about a third of them will develop serious
heart or intestinal damage that could lead to death. On average, about 14,000
people die from Chagas disease in Latin America each year.
3. About the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund)
The GHIT Fund is an international nonprofit organization aimed to advance the
research and development of new health technologies from Japan to fight
infectious diseases prevalent specifically in the developing world, including
HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
Established as a public-private partnership between the Government of Japan, a
consortium of pharmaceutical companies, and the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation, the GHIT Fund facilitates and funds research and development of new
health technologies through partnership creation and grant-making activities.
To learn more about the GHIT Fund, please see www.ghitfund.org.
Eisai Co., Ltd. (TSE: 4523; ADR: ESALY) is a research-based human health care
(hhc) company that discovers, develops and markets products throughout the
world. Eisai focuses its efforts in three therapeutic areas: integrative
neuroscience, including neurology and psychiatric medicines; integrative
oncology, which encompasses oncotherapy and supportive-care treatments; and
vascular/immunological reaction. Through a global network of research
facilities, manufacturing sites and marketing subsidiaries, Eisai actively
participates in all aspects of the worldwide healthcare system. For more
information about Eisai Co., Ltd., please visit www.eisai.com.
Eisai Co., Ltd.
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