Press release 19 February 2015

Pharmaceutical industry makes progress in cutting-edge R&D for neglected diseases

Press release



  • Report shows 13% annual increase of pharmaceutical R&D projects to develop treatments to eliminate and control neglected diseases. In 2014, 186 projects were underway.
  • 38 vaccines and treatments currently undergo clinical trials, 10 of which are in final stages. Projects include potential treatments and vaccines for TB, sleeping sickness, malaria, dengue, Chagas, schistosomiasis, intestinal worms and Ebola.
  • Pharmaceutical industry also works with WHO and other partners to implement 40 programs to support health system capacity-strengthening and donations.

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) released today the 2014 Status Report on pharmaceutical R&D projects to address neglected diseases. The report lists 186 R&D projects supported by IFPMA members to develop new or improved medicines and vaccines for 11 neglected conditions1 that each year kill or disable millions of people in low- and middle-income countries. Of the 186 treatments or vaccines R&D projects, 28 are undergoing early stage clinical trials, while 10 currently go through the final stages of demonstrating their efficacy, quality, and safety.

The ten more imminent breakthroughs concern TB (3 projects), malaria (5 projects), dengue (1 project), and intestinal worms (1 project), nearing the end of what is on average a 10 to 15 years R&D process.

Vaccines R&D projects have tripled in the last ten years and the pipeline now holds one promising vaccine for malaria (currently under evaluation at the European Medicines Agency), one for dengue (phase III), for which at present no therapy exists, as well as three fast-tracked vaccines for Ebola (phase I/II).

164 (88%) R&D projects for neglected diseases are collaborative efforts, involving partnerships between IFPMA member companies and more than 80 partners from universities, public and private sector institutes and non-governmental organizations.

IFPMA member companies are also involved in over 40 partnerships2 to support capacity-strengthening the projects that aim to bolster local health systems and capacity, as well as provide safe water and sanitation, and public awareness on disease prevention.

Adding to these efforts, the pharmaceutical industry continues to deliver on its 20123 pledge of 1.4 billion annual treatments through 2020 to control or eliminate the nine neglected diseases responsible for more than 90% of the global neglected diseases burden. These donations support WHO’s mass drug administration programs for neglected diseases. Full Status Report is available here, and infographic here.

1) Tuberculosis, malaria, human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), leishmaniasis, dengue, onchocerciasis (river blindness), American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, soil-transmitted helminthic diseases and Ebola.

2) Check out for insights into each partnership.

3) London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Geneva, 19 February 2015


The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) represents over 90 innovative pharmaceutical companies and associations around the world. Our industry’s almost three million employees discover, develop, and deliver medicines and vaccines that advance global health. Based in Geneva, IFPMA has official relations with the United Nations and contributes industry expertise to help the global health community improve the lives of people everywhere. For more information, visit

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Elliot Dunster