Eisai Inc. announced today that its parent company Tokyo, Japan-based Eisai Co., Ltd. has pledged the continuing support of its initiatives for the elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF), a parasitic disease that is transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito. This announcement was made at an event held in Geneva, Switzerland, on April 18, marking the 5th anniversary of the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), an international public-private partnership.
Under the London Declaration, Eisai signed an agreement with the World Health Organization (WHO) to supply 2.2 billion high-quality diethylcarbamazine (DEC) tablets for the treatment of LF, which were running in short supply worldwide, at Price Zero (free of charge) by the year 2020. As of the end of March 2017, 1 billion tablets, which were manufactured at Eisai's Vizag Plant in India, have been supplied to 27 countries. In addition to the supply of DEC tablets, local Eisai employees in LF endemic countries have been cooperating with WHO, local governments, and non-governmental organization (NGO) partners to support local elimination efforts, through Mass Drug Administrations (MDA), disease awareness campaigns, improvements in sanitation, and other activities. Furthermore, Eisai has collaborated with other pharmaceutical companies, WHO, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop and freely provide new, low-cost diagnostic kits for LF, which do not require a temperature-controlled supply chain.
"Eisai is proud to be one of the member companies that signed the London Declaration," said Haruo Naito, CEO, Eisai Co., Ltd. "Working together, with industry, government and NGO partners over the last five years, we have made tremendous progress towards our goal of eliminating devastating and horrific NTDs. The impact that these efforts have had on thousands of patients in need affects not only their health, but also the prosperity of the entire community and future development in these areas."
Announced in January 2012, the London Declaration is the largest public-private partnership in the field of global health, and represents a coordinated effort by global pharmaceutical companies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, WHO, the United States, United Kingdom and NTD-endemic country governments, as well as other partners, to eliminate 10 NTDs by the year 2020. Since the signing of the London Declaration, donations of medical treatments by pharmaceutical companies have increased by 70 percent, and these treatments contribute to the prevention and cure of disease in approximately 1 billion people every year.
As a result of these activities under the London Declaration, a total of eight out of 73 endemic countries have eliminated LF as a public health threat, with another 10 currently waiting on results to verify elimination. Eisai will continue to supply DEC tablets to the endemic countries that need them beyond 2020, as well as promote comprehensive support activities so that even more countries can achieve elimination by 2020.
Eisai seeks to contribute to the health and welfare of people in developing and emerging countries, as it considers this to be a long-term investment in creating the markets of the future. Once they have recovered their health, they can resume productive activities, which will in turn contribute to economic development and expansion of the middle-income class. In addition to supplying DEC tablets free of charge, Eisai is also actively engaged in partnerships with governments, international organizations, academia, and NGOs to develop new drugs for NTDs, tuberculosis and malaria. Through these initiatives, Eisai seeks to make further contributions to patients and their families worldwide and increase the benefits that health care provides them.
[Notes to editors]
1. About Neglected Tropic Diseases (NTDs)
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NTDs blight the lives of more than 1 billion people in 149 countries, the majority of which are living in poverty.1 These diseases not only survive and spread in conditions of poverty but are also a cause of poverty in many countries and regions. Neglected tropical diseases can cause blindness and deform in ways that hinder economic productivity and prevent a normal social life. In serious cases, they may lead to death. The consequences are costly for societies and for health care.
The following 18 NTDs have been designated by WHO for control or elimination: dengue / severe dengue, rabies, trachoma, buruli ulcer, yaws [endemic treponematoses], leprosy, Chagas disease, human African trypanosomiasis [sleeping sickness], the leishmaniases, cysticercosis / teniasis, dracunculiasis [guinea-worm disease], echinococcosis, food-borne trematodiases [fascioliasis], lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis [river blindness], schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases, and mycetoma.
2. About London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases
On January 30, 2012, the CEOs of 13 global pharmaceutical companies*1, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.K. Department For International Development (DFID), the World Bank, and officials from NTD-endemic countries gathered in London to pledge their support for a coordinated effort to combat 10 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)*2 over the next ten years. The London Declaration represents the largest international public-private partnership to date, and unlike past approaches undertaken by an individual organization or for a single disease, the group has committed itself to working collaboratively in an effort to comprehensively tackle issues pertaining to drug supply, distribution, development, and implementation programs as it seeks to more effectively combat NTDs.
*1 Abbvie, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eisai, GlaxoSmithKline, Gilead, Johnson & Johnson, Merck (Merck KGaA: Germany), Merck Sharp & Dhome, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi
*2 Guinea worm, lymphatic filariasis, blinding trachoma, sleeping sickness, leprosy, soil-transmitted helminthes, schistosomiasis, river blindness, Chagas, and visceral leishmaniasis
3. About lymphatic filariasis
Lymphatic filariasis is a parasitic disease that is transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito. Once transmitted, it causes lymphatic dysfunction. While infection is usually acquired during childhood, symptoms gradually appear over several years, with the most serious manifestations of the disease occurring in adulthood. The most serious manifestation, known as elephantiasis, is a permanent physical disability in which a patient's lower extremities swell to resemble those of an elephant. In addition to impacting a patient's ability to perform everyday tasks, it has historically led to many patients falling victim to social persecution due to biases against the disease. The disease also causes patients and their families much emotional distress.
The disease has been proven to have existed in Japan since the Heian Period (794-1184). However, Japan succeeded in eliminating lymphatic filariasis in the late 1970s as a result of initiatives carried out by a government-lead public-private partnership, becoming the first country in the world to demonstrate the successful achievement of lymphatic filariasis elimination using DEC.
4. About Eisai's initiatives for developing new drugs for NTDs
Eisai is currently promoting various projects aimed at developing new treatments for Chagas disease, filariasis, leishimaniasis and mycetoma as well as malaria and tuberculosis. For this R&D, Eisai is engaging in collaborations, such as partnerships with governments, international organizations, and NGOs.
For example: Eisai is aiming to develop a new treatment for Chagas disease (a disease spread by the assassin bug that is endemic in 21 countries in Latin America). To this purpose, we are currently conducting a Phase II trial of our in-house developed anti-fungal agent fosravuconazole in partnership with Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi). Phase II clinical trials in collaboration with DNDi for the treatment of mycetoma (a disease which causes massive tumour-like lesions and is caused by fungal penetration of the skin) are also underway.
In addition, Eisai co-established the Tuberculosis Drug Accelerator (TBDA) together with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and several other global pharmaceutical companies and research organizations, with the aim of discovering innovative new treatments for tuberculosis.
Furthermore, Eisai is participating in several exploratory research consortiums such as the Macrofilaricide Drug Accelerator (MacDA), for developing macrofilaricidal drugs to combat filarial diseases, and the NTD Drug Discovery Booster, for more efficient development of drugs for leishmaniasis and Chagas disease, with the aim of fulfilling the high unmet needs of patients suffering from these diseases.
5. About the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund
The Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund) is a Japanese public-private partnership, co-established by a consortium of pharmaceutical companies (including Eisai), the Japanese government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The GHIT Fund promotes new drug discovery for treatment of NTDs in emerging and developing countries.
At Eisai Inc., human health care (hhc) is our goal. We give our first thoughts to patients and their families, and helping to increase the benefits health care provides. As the U.S. pharmaceutical subsidiary of Tokyo-based Eisai Co., Ltd., we have a passionate commitment to patient care that is the driving force behind our efforts to discover and develop innovative therapies to help address unmet medical needs.
Eisai is a fully integrated pharmaceutical business that operates in two global business groups: oncology and neurology (dementia-related diseases and neurodegenerative diseases). Each group functions as an end-to-end global business with discovery, development, and marketing capabilities. Our U.S. headquarters, commercial and clinical development organizations are located in New Jersey; our discovery labs are in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania; and our global demand chain organization resides in Maryland and North Carolina. To learn more about Eisai Inc., please visit us at www.eisai.com/US.
Eisai Co. Ltd.
Eisai Co., Ltd. is a leading global research and development-based pharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan. We define our corporate mission as "giving first thought to patients and their families and to increasing the benefits health care provides," which we call our human health care (hhc) philosophy. With over 10,000 employees working across our global network of R&D facilities, manufacturing sites and marketing subsidiaries, we strive to realize our hhc philosophy by delivering innovative products in various therapeutic areas with high unmet medical needs, including oncology and neurology. For more information about Eisai Co., Ltd., please visit www.eisai.com.