15 July 2020

Project partner spotlight: An interview with Daniel Lacerda de Oliveira from Farmanguinhos

Farmanguinhos, the federal governmental pharmaceutical laboratory of the Fiocruz Foundation in Brazil, plays a key role within the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium, contributing vital expertise for the production and future distribution...

To find out more about Farmanguinhos and its role within the project, we spoke to Daniel Lacerda de Oliveira, Project Manager in Research & Development at Farmanguinhos. Daniel also told us about the efforts being made during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tell us about Farmanguinhos and its role within the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium

Farmanguinhos is a drug technology institute linked with the Ministry of Health in Brazil. Working in the fields of education, research, technological innovation and drug product manufacturing, we play an important role in the Brazilian public health care system – manufacturing and providing high-quality and affordable medicines for a large range of diseases from schistosomiasis, malaria and tuberculosis to hypertension, diabetes, HIV and more.

We officially joined the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium in June 2014 and have been working hard with all partners to achieve the project's goals. Our main role within the Consortium is to be the first manufacturing site for the pediatric formulation of praziquantel. With our knowledge and expertise in the development and manufacturing of drug products for Neglected Tropical Diseases, it is our ambition to produce a high-quality product on a commercial scale. Once the project is complete, we will be the market authorization holder for Brazil.

What is your role within the project and how have you seen things progress in the time that you’ve been involved?

I’ve been working on this project from the start of Farmanguinhos’ involvement. We were the first endemic-country partner to join the Consortium. Together with my team, we initially tested the first formulation and manufacturing process developed by Astellas. Since then, we have been working to produce and eventually distribute the new pediatric product to endemic countries. Over the course of the last six or so years, I’ve seen a great effort from all project partners to overcome various scientific and operational challenges to ensure that we reach our goal of providing a pediatric product to children suffering from schistosomiasis.

Covid-19 is obviously top of mind for everyone at the moment, how is Farmanguinhos dealing with the impacts of the crisis and what contributions is the institute making?

As a drug manufacturing institute, we have an important role to play in this crisis. We are providing drug products to Brazil's public health system and we’re getting ready to scale up and offer supplies to an increasingly large number of patients.

Despite the setbacks of the virus and its direct impacts on our workforce, we are managing the work of the Consortium as best we can to ensure continuity and minimize impacts as much as possible.

A long-standing and valued partner of the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium, Farmanguinhos is contributing to the Consortium's mission of developing, registering and providing access to a suitable pediatric formulation of praziquantel, illustrating the value and importance of harnessing local knowledge and expertise.