The European Lead Factory supports World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day

13 January 2020

This 30 January marks the inaugural World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day, an initiative designed to draw attention to priority issues surrounding NTDs and the efforts being made to combat them. Falling on the anniversary of the landmark 2012 London Declaration on NTDs, which united partners in the drive for greater action on NTDs, the Day hopes to inspire further support for this cause.

NTDs threaten over 1 billion people living in the poorest countries and communities around the world and with globalization and climate change, many diseases traditionally associated with these more remote parts of the world are starting to pose a real threat to the global population.

As a project aimed at catalyzing the discovery of new medicines for some of the world’s biggest health challenges, the European Lead Factory (ELF) has taken a keen interest in the area of NTD research, already achieving significant results in NTD drug discovery programs. One example is the disease leishmaniasis, for which the ELF has embarked on a screening program: “With this project, we have found the most effective and selective inhibitors known to date of this parasite enzyme. It provides real hope to develop a successful treatment for leishmaniasis,” said Professor Anabela Cordeiro-da-Silva, principal investigator at i3S in Portugal. 

ELF provides new opportunities for academic and biotech companies to advance their drug discovery for NTDs, as stated by Jon de Vlieger, Coordinator of the ELF-ESCulab project: “In the next years, the ELF will perform over 50 new high throughput screens on drug targets and phenotypes to be proposed by the wider European drug discovery community. For NTDs, the ELF project has defined very favorable terms and conditions, allowing these programs to be screened for free without any later stage milestone payments.”

It is believed that 2020 will be a decisive year for NTDs with new goals expected to be launched by the World Health Organization in guiding progress until 2030. Countries and leaders will have the opportunity to put increased resources and efforts into fighting NTDs, but this can’t happen without first driving attention through activities like World NTD Day.

ELF is proud to be one of the more than 160 partners from around the world to have signed on to celebrate the Day. You can also show your support by signing up and sharing information about the Day through your local networks. By engaging in the right activities and actions, significant progress can be made in the fight against NTDs.

Previous news from ELF on the topic of NTDs:
On the fast track to beat neglected tropical diseases
PDE4NPD and the European Lead Factory team up: parasite enzyme up for ultra-HTS against 450,000 compounds