10 July 2014

GHIT 1st Anniversary Event – progress to date

The 2014 decision by the Japanese Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund) to support the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium was a major milestone. Its ¥186.5 million grant provides crucial support to the Consortium’s clinical development program, by providing funding for phase 1...

A first anniversary GHIT event in Tokyo on 6 June saw more than 350 people meet to review progress, including representatives from the Japanese government and attendees from the private sector, the research community, NGOs and academia.

Dr. Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and GHIT Fund board member, first gave a keynote presentation on the current state of global health. Three case studies funded by GHIT Fund were then presented in detail, including the work of the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium. Mr. Masafumi Nogimori, Chairman of the Board and Representative Director of Astellas Pharma Inc., shared the objectives of the Consortium and what Astellas can bring to this product development partnership.

Dr. BT Slingsby, CEO of the GHIT Fund sees the work on a new pediatric praziquantel formulation as evidence of how much can be achieved with the right global partnerships: “The Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium is highly motivated, and committed to eliminating schistosomiasis as a global health problem. We are seeing best-in-class science being applied very effectively. Results to date, and the planned phase 1 studies, demonstrate that the investment made in this project is already yielding excellent outcomes.”

Dr. Elly Kourany-Lefoll, Program Lead at the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium, is in no doubt that the scientific foundations of the project are sound: “We are progressing in the development of a real-world treatment for the age group that is most vulnerable to the terrible effects of schistosomiasis. GHIT funding has allowed us to make a very significant step forward – of course there is still some way to go, and we will be working hard to find a way to move forward from this point and achieve all of the Consortium’s goals.”

The GHIT fund is supported by three key partners: a group of leading Japanese pharmaceutical companies, the Japanese government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.