- For Print
- April 19, 2017
Eisai Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Tokyo, CEO: Haruo Naito, “Eisai”) has announced the results of its initiatives for the elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF), and its continued support of this cause in the future. This announcement was made at an event held in Geneva, Switzerland, on April 18, marking the 5th anniversary of the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), an international public-private partnership.
Announced in January 2012, the London Declaration is the largest public-private partnership in the field of global health, and represents a coordinated effort by global pharmaceutical companies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States, United Kingdom and NTD-endemic country governments, as well as other partners, to eliminate 10 NTDs by the year 2020. Since the signing of the London Declaration, donations of medical treatments by pharmaceutical companies have increased by 70 percent, and these treatments contribute to the prevention and cure of disease in approximately 1 billion people every year.
Under the London Declaration, Eisai signed an agreement with WHO to supply 2.2 billion high-quality diethylcarbamazine (DEC) tablets, which were running in short supply worldwide, at Price Zero (free of charge) by the year 2020. These DEC tablets are manufactured at Eisai's Vizag Plant in India. As of the end of March 2017, 1 billion tablets have been supplied to 27 endemic countries. In addition to the supply of DEC tablets, Eisai employees have been cooperating with WHO, local governments, and other partners to support local elimination efforts, through Mass Drug Administrations (MDA), disease awareness campaigns, improvements in sanitation, and other activities. Furthermore, Eisai has collaborated with other pharmaceutical companies, WHO, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop and freely provide new, low-cost diagnostic kits for LF which do not require a temperature-controlled supply chain.
As a result of these activities under the London Declaration, a total of eight out of 73 endemic countries have eliminated LF as a public health threat, with a further 10 currently waiting on surveillance results to verify elimination. Eisai will continue to promote comprehensive support activities so that even more countries can achieve elimination by 2020, and in light of the current elimination progress, also provide a stable and high-quality supply of DEC tablets to the endemic countries that need them beyond 2020, until complete elimination is achieved.
Eisai seeks to contribute to the health and welfare of people in developing and emerging countries. Once they have recovered their health, they can resume productive activities, which will in turn contribute to economic development and expansion of the middle-income class. Eisai considers this to be a long term investment in creating the markets of the future. In addition to supplying DEC tablets free of charge, Eisai is also actively engaged in partnerships with governments, international organizations, academia, and non-profit private sector organizations to develop new drugs for NTDs, tuberculosis and malaria. Through these initiatives, Eisai seeks to make further contributions to patients and their families worldwide and increase the benefits that health care provides them.
Public Relations Department,
Eisai Co., Ltd.
< Notes to editors >
1.About Neglected Tropic Diseases (NTDs)
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NTDs blight the lives of more than 1 billion people in 149 countries, the majority of which are living in poverty.1 These diseases not only survive and spread in conditions of poverty but are also a cause of poverty in many countries and regions. NTDs can cause blindness and deform in ways that hinder economic productivity and prevent a normal social life. In serious cases, they may lead to death. The consequences are costly for societies and for health care.
The following 18 NTDs have been designated by WHO for control or elimination: dengue and chikungunya, rabies, trachoma, buruli ulcer, yaws [endemic treponematoses], leprosy [Hansen's disease], Chagas disease, human African trypanosomiasis [sleeping sickness], leishmaniasis, taeniasis / cysticercosis, dracunculiasis [guinea-worm disease], echinococcosis, food-borne trematodiases, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis [river blindness], schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases, and mycetoma.
2.About London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases
On January 30, 2012, the CEOs of 13 global pharmaceutical companies*1, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), the World Bank, and officials from NTD-endemic countries gathered in London to pledge their support for a coordinated effort to combat 10 NTDs*2 over the next ten years. The London Declaration represents the largest international public-private partnership in the field of global health to date, and unlike past approaches undertaken by an individual organization or for a single disease, the group has committed itself to working collaboratively in an effort to comprehensively tackle issues pertaining to drug supply, distribution, development, and implementation programs as it seeks to more effectively combat NTDs.
- *1Abbvie, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eisai, GlaxonSmithKline, Gilead, Johnson & Johnson, Merck (Merck KGaA: Germany), Merck Sharp & Dhome, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi
- *2Guinea worm disease, lymphatic filariasis, blinding trachoma, sleeping sickness [human African trypanosomiasis], leprosy, soil-transmitted helminthes, schistosomiasis, river blindness, Chagas disease, and visceral leishmaniasis
3.About lymphatic filariasis
Lymphatic filariasis is a parasitic disease that is transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito. Once transmitted, it causes lymphatic dysfunction. While infection is usually acquired during childhood, symptoms gradually appear over several years, with the most serious manifestations of the disease occurring in adulthood. The most serious manifestation, known as elephantiasis, is a permanent physical disability in which a patient's lower extremities swell to resemble those of an elephant. In addition to impacting a patient's ability to perform everyday tasks, it has historically led to many patients falling victim to social persecution due to biases against the disease. The disease also causes patients and their families much emotional distress.
The disease has been proven to have existed in Japan since the Heian Period (794-1184). However, as a result of initiatives carried out by government-lead public-private partnerships starting in the 1960s, Japan succeeded in eliminating lymphatic filariasis by the late 1970s, becoming the first country in the world to demonstrate the successful achievement of lymphatic filariasis elimination.
4.About Eisai's initiatives for developing new drugs for NTDs
Eisai is currently currently promoting various projects aimed at developing new treatments for Chagas disease, filariasis, leishimaniasis and mycetoma as well as malaria and tuberculosis. For this R&D, Eisai is engaging in collaborations, such as partnerships with governments, international organizations, and non-profit private sector organizations.
For example: Eisai is aiming to develop a new treatment for Chagas disease (a disease spread by the assassin bug that is endemic in 21 countries in Latin America). To this purpose, we are currently conducting a Phase Ⅱ trial of our in-house developed anti-fungal agent fosravuconazole in partnership with Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi). Phase Ⅱ clinical trials in collaboration with DNDi for the treatment of mycetoma (a disease which causes massive tumour-like lesions and is caused by fungal penetration of the skin) are also underway.
In addition, Eisai co-established the Tuberculosis Drug Accelerator (TBDA) together with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and several other global pharmaceutical companies and research organizations, with the aim of discovering innovative new treatments for tuberculosis.
Furthermore, Eisai is participating in several exploratory research consortiums such as the Macrofilaricide Drug Accelerator (MacDA), for developing macrofilaricidal drugs to combat filarial diseases, and the NTD Drug Discovery Booster, for more efficient development of drugs for leishmaniasis and Chagas disease, with the aim of fulfilling the high unmet needs of patients suffering from these diseases.
In addition, the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund) is the first Japanese public-private partnership in the field of global health, co-established by a consortium of pharmaceutical companies (including Eisai), the Japanese government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The GHIT Fund promotes new drug discovery for treatment of NTDs in emerging and developing countries.