Novartis Teams Up to Tackle Neglected Diseases in Brazil


Swiss pharma giant Novartis is teaming up with the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) in Brazil to conduct research throughout Latin America on neglected diseases.


This agreement establishes an exchange of know-how that will provide progress in public health policies in Brazil

Patrice Matchaba, global head of corporate responsibility, Novartis

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Novartis and Fiocruz in Rio de Janeiro this October concerns research on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) such as leprosy and Chagas disease, as well as other diseases common to the developing world such as malaria and sickle cell anaemia.


Novartis has long had a footprint in tropical disease research and has form for establishing public-private partnerships (PPPs). The Novartis Institute for Tropical Disease (NITD), established in 2001 and based in Singapore, is a small-molecule drug discovery research institute within the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research and represents a PPP between Novartis and the Singapore Economic Development Board. The NITD’s primary areas of research are dengue fever, malaria and tuberculosis.


The Fiocruz partnership in Brazil will focus on the sharing of information and technical documentation, academic exchange of both researchers and students, the organization of conferences and seminars, and the publication of scientific journals. The research is set to be conducted in partnership with clinical centres across the continent.


For Patrice Matchaba, Novartis’ global head of corporate responsibility, “This agreement establishes an exchange of know-how that will provide progress in public health policies in Brazil.” Matchaba added, “Novartis is committed to contributing to the eradication of these diseases and to having a positive impact on Brazilian health and, consequently, improving and extending people’s lives.”


Marco Aurélio Krieger, VP of production and innovation in health at Fiocruz, added that, “Fiocruz’s science, technology and innovation system seeks to transfer the scientific knowledge developed in our laboratories, and also through partnerships, to society. In this sense, this agreement aims at using new technologies to tackle old problems.”


Aurélio Krieger also noted that “In this way, the same technologies that are being used to address the most prevalent diseases could be employed against the diseases that affect neglected populations.”

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