Collaboration for innovation: Establishment of a pan-nematode drug development platform
The Helminth Elimination Platform (HELP) is a consortium of research institutes, universities, not-for-profit organizations, and pharmaceutical companies, formed in 2019 to develop new drugs for infections caused by parasitic worms (helminths).
More effective, safe, and affordable treatments are needed for helminth diseases, to reach the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals on health.
The consortium‘s objective is to establish an R&D pipeline of drug candidates for treating onchocerciasis, especially in case current candidates fail in upcoming clinical trials. Moreover, it aims to establish a much-needed drug R&D pipeline to treat soil-transmitted helminth infections. For this disease, there is currently neither a drug with good efficacy against all species, nor any prospect thereof on the horizon.
The HELP Consortium members
About Swiss TPH
The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) is a world-leading institute in global health with a particular focus on low- and middle-income countries. Associated with the University of Basel, Swiss TPH combines research, services, and education and training at local, national, and international levels. About 850 people from 80 nations work at Swiss TPH focusing on infectious and non-communicable diseases, environment, society, and health as well as health systems and interventions. www.swisstph.ch
The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a not-for-profit research and development organization working to deliver new treatments for neglected diseases – notably leishmaniasis, sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, specific filarial infections, and mycetoma – as well as treatments for neglected patients, particularly those living with paediatric HIV and hepatitis C. Since its inception in 2003, DNDi and its partners have delivered eight innovative treatments to improve the quality of life and health of patients. www.dndi.org
About University of Buea
The University of Buea is a state University in Cameroon, created in 1993. Scientists at the University of Buea work on tropical diseases, notably filariasis. Their work combines experimental models of infection (preclinical research) to clinical trial, and epidemiology. They developed animal models for loaisis for both screening and counter screening of compounds against loaisis, lymphatic filariasis, and onchocerciasis. www.ubuea.cm
About University Hospital Bonn
The Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology (IMMIP) at the Universitätsklinikum Bonn is internationally renowned for its work in tropical medicine, specifically for pioneering a new drug treatment for filariasis. The new treatment exploits the symbiosis between the filarial nematodes and bacterial endosymbionts called Wolbachia, which are susceptible to some classes of antibiotics. https://www.microbiology-bonn.de/
About Ifakara Health Institute (IHI)
Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) is a leading health research organization in Africa, with a strong track record of developing, testing, and validating innovations for health. We are driven by a core strategic mandate for research, training, and services. The institute’s work spans across the full research lifecycle from basic science to policy and translation. IHI’s work is organized in three research departments, six research units, and seven technical units. The research departments are: Environmental Health & Ecological Sciences, Interventions & Clinical Trials, and Health Systems, Impact Evaluation & Policy. The research units are: Grants and Contracts, Training & Capacity Building, Laboratories, Data Systems and Platforms, Vector Control Product Testing, and Chronic Diseases Clinics. The technical units, which are supporting research (our primary activity), are: Internal Audit, Knowledge Management and Communications, Finance Management, Human Resources, Procurement Management, Branch Management and Information & Communication Technology. We have three major offices in Tanzania (Ifakara, Bagamoyo, & Dar es Salaam). www.ihi.or.tz
About Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle
The Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle is a research establishment, educational institution and museum rolled into one, a crossroads of knowledge with collections, a variety of sites open to the public and laboratories. One of them is dedicated to parasitology and has a long history in the study of filariasis. www.mnhn.fr
About Elanco Animal Health
Elanco Animal Health (NYSE: ELAN) is a global leader in animal health dedicated to innovating and delivering products and services to prevent and treat disease in farm animals and pets, creating value for farmers, pet owners, veterinarians, stakeholders, and society as a whole. With nearly 70 years of animal health heritage, Elanco is committed to helping customers improve the health of animals in their care, while also making a meaningful impact on local and global communities. Elanco is driven by their vision of Food and Companionship Enriching Life and the Elanco Healthy Purpose™ sustainability and ESG framework – all to advance the health of animals, people and the planet. www.elanco.com
About Bristol-Myers Squibb
A Global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. Working in the field of oncology, hematology, immunology and cardiovascular disease, we are dedicated to helping patients prevail over serious diseases through our diverse and promising pipeline and new scientific platforms. www.bms.com