The company has renewed its pledge to eliminate neglected tropical diseases and malaria over five years

Novartis has endorsed the ‘Kigali Declaration’ on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by announcing a five-year financial commitment of $250m.

The Kigali Summit on Malaria and NTDs is currently running alongside the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting.

Novartis’ investment prioritises malaria – a disease it has been focussed on eliminating for many years. It also includes a  $100m investment to advance the research and development of its neglected tropical disease programme, concentrating on novel drug candidates for four diseases.

In partnership with Wellcome, the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases is working to discover novel anti-parasitic therapies for Chagas disease. Furthermore, the company is collaborating with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative to jointly develop LXE408 for the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis. It will also be developing therapies for dengue fever and parasitic diarrhoea – major causes of mortality among young children in developing countries.

“Over the past decade, great progress has been made against NTDs, but there is still a lot more work to be done. Novartis will continue progressing our longstanding commitment to helping realise a world free of NTDs,” explained Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis. “Today, by endorsing the Kigali Declaration and pledging to invest $250m, we aim to accelerate progress toward elimination of these diseases, which continue to cause suffering and stigma for millions of people around the globe.”

Novartis was among the original endorsers of the London Declaration on NTDs in 2012, committing to a multidrug therapy donation to support global efforts to eliminate leprosy. This was followed with a further commitment of $100m toward the fight against malaria in 2018.

Around the world, 1.7 billion people suffer from NTDs, which are prevalent in tropical areas and mostly affect impoverished communities, causing devastating health, social and economic consequences.