Japanese pharmaceutical companies form partnership to combat infectious diseases in developing countries

Five Japan-based pharmaceutical companies have announced that they will be forming a partnership programme which will target the treatment of infectious diseases in developing countries.

The public-private partnership will be comprised of Takeda, Astellas, Daiichi-Sankyo, Eisai and Shionogi, along with support from the Japanese government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and will be dedicated to the development of vaccines, medicines and diagnostic tools for lesser economically developed countries.

Known as the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund scheme (GHIT), the partnership, which is a first in Japanese healthcare, follows in the same vein as other public-private healthcare models that have been established across Europe. Such models include the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), which supports research into specific high-priority areas in the global medicine research industry, such as resistance to antibiotics. GHIT will see collaboration between drugmakers, universities and research institutions, as they focus their research into HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) such as hookworm infection, schistosomiasis, and trachoma.

The GHIT Fund chair and science adviser to the Japanese government, Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa, said that GHIT’s priority is to provide fast and impactful research with the spirit of collaboration, and “make tangible the kinds of contribution in innovation” that they feel Japan should be known for. GHIT’s work forms part of Japan’s growth strategies for the country, and hopes to leverage the individual strengths of each pharmaceutical company involved in order to make the most progressive advancements for developing countries.

Eisai, one of the five Japanese pharmaceutical participating organisations, issued a statement, which said that the company believes the scheme will “lead to further global public-private partnerships focused on the development of new drugs and contribute to global health through advances made in new health technologies in Japan.”

Sources include The Japan Daily Press, Zenopa.com

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