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Novartis joins forces with GARDP for better, accessible infectious disease treatments in the developing world

Published on 27/09/18 at 11:59am

Novartis has partnered up with the Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership (GARDP) to push for faster development and wider availability for children of generic antibiotic therapies in low- and middle-income nations.

The partnership will facilitate close communication between GARDP and Novartis’ generics division, Sandoz, including the sharing of expertise to push for greater “incremental product innovation” through a focus on the supply chain, capacity building, and evaluation measures to improve medicine access.

Child mortality has fallen by half since 1990, but infectious diseases such as pneumonia and sepsis still present the biggest cause of child morbidity with over three million deaths in 2013, two-thirds of which occur in sub-Saharan Africa. This is all the while exacerbated by the threat of antimicrobial resistance, with around 214,000 dying as a result each year. Specifically, the duo hope to develop heat-stable paediatric forumlations to fight these most threatening diseases.

"Children are not small adults and require treatments that are adapted in terms of regimen, dose and formulation. However, challenges around conducting clinical trials in children have led to lack of evidence-based treatments available for them. And lack of evidence hinders the development of treatment guidelines for their care," said Dr Manica Balasegaram, Director of GARDP. "This partnership not only has the potential to reduce the number of preventable deaths in children, but also to help tackle AMR through addressing the over-use and misuse of antibiotics."

Harald Nusser, Global Head of Novartis Social Business, added: "New treatment formulations are needed to address the unmet needs of children in lower-income countries. Yet, medicines by themselves are not sufficient; they also need to be affordable and accessible for patients. A very important part of our role will therefore be to work with partners on the ground to ensure these medicines reach patients, and in particular those living in remote and underserved areas."

Matt Fellows

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