Novartis, Gates Foundation pen tropical disease drug pact

(Image: Novartis)

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has teamed up with big pharma Novartis and its experimental drug for certain diarrheal diseases.

The Gates Foundation will inject $6.5 million into KDU731, a Cryptosporidium lipid kinase PI(4)K (phosphatidylinositol-4-OH kinase) inhibitor for the treatment of cryptosporidiosis, currently under early development within the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD).

Novartis says that diarrheal diseases are one of the leading causes of childhood deaths globally, with around half a million deaths a year, and cryptosporidiosis is the second leading cause of infectious diarrhea in younger kids.

“There is an urgent medical need for new and effective therapeutics for cryptosporidiosis, particularly in vulnerable populations,” explained Paul Kelly University of Zambia School of Medicine and Tropical Gastroenterology at Barts & The London.

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“We are committed to the fight against cryptosporidiosis and other infectious and neglected tropical diseases and are proud to work closely with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other partners in this effort,” added Thierry Diagana, Head of NITD.

“Today’s global health issues cannot be solved by one organization alone. Private companies, governments, non-governmental organizations, academia, and other stakeholders need to work together to create sustainable solutions.”