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United Kingdom : US$10 Million Investment into the Registration of Moxidectin, an Important New Global Health Medicine for River Blindness.

The Global Health Investment Fund (GHIF) and Medicines Development for Global Health (Medicines Development) announced today a 10 million USD program for the registration of moxidectin for the treatment of river blindness (onchocerciasis). River blindness is a debilitating neglected tropical disease caused by the worm Onchocerca volvulus, which is transmitted through the bites of infected blackflies. The disease affects more than 37 million people, the majority of whom live in poor communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Medicines Development, an Australian not-for-profit biopharmaceutical company that licensed the moxidectin data from the World Health Organization (WHO), will undertake the registration process and, should it be successfully registered, will supply this potentially transformative new drug.

From the late 1990s, the WHO-based Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (WHO/TDR) has worked extensively with industry, patient and community groups to evaluate the use of moxidectin for the treatment of onchocerciasis. The compound is an anthelmintic medicine with activity against a broad range of parasitic worms and insects. The final stages of human studies in river blindness have now been completed and moxidectin has been shown to be well tolerated and effective against the disease.

The GHIF investment will be used to support the manufacture of moxidectin and the compilation of the regulatory dossier required for the registration process for use in humans. Should the drug be approved, Medicines Development will work towards ensuring a secure supply of moxidectin for onchocerciasis and, with GHIF, will continue to research other potential human uses of moxidectin for infectious diseases. An important part of the agreement between Medicines Development and GHIF is the contractual requirement to ensure accessibility of moxidectin for river blindness should the drug be approved, a goal consistent with the aims of each of the WHO, GHIF and Medicines Development.

"Moxidectin has the potential to be an important medicine for treating river blindness, and we are delighted to work with GHIF to achieve the goal of registering this drug for human use" said Mark Sullivan of Medicines Development. "GHIF's strategy to invest in projects that impact health particularly in low- and middle-income countries could not be better matched with the reasons we established Medicines Development."

"It is a privilege to be partnering with Medicines Development to bring moxidectin through its final stages of registration in humans. There has been no drug registered to fight river blindness since 1987. If successful, this will give health workers a new tool in their armoury in the effort to eliminate onchocerciasis." said Julia Fan Li of the GHIF.

"We are delighted to see the continued progress in the development of moxidectin for treating river blindness" said John Reeder, Director of WHO/TDR. "Our vision for this drug being registered and made available to the communities affected by this debilitating disease has taken another important step forward."

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Mar 10, 2015
Words:481
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