Japan launches infectious disease initiative

Aim is to provide funding for research into HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases

In the first initiative of its kind in Japan, five pharmaceutical companies based in Japan are to form a public-private partnership with the Japanese government to help developing countries fight infectious diseases.

The fund, to be called Global Health Innovative Technology, will be comprised of representatives of Takeda, Astellas, Daiichi-Sankyo, Eisai and Shionogi and will also involve the cooperation of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Japanese government.

The aim is to develop medicine, vaccines and diagnostic services for developing countries. The fund will provide funding for research into HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Daiichi Sankyo said it would improve access to medicine in developing countries, which includes mobile healthcare field clinic services in India, Cameroon and Tanzania. Meanwhile, Eisai considers its involvement as a commitment to a long term investment in its future.

Astellas said its involvement in the project would help develop health technologies for NTDs, such as its partnership with Nagasaki University to research drugs for diseases caused by the dengue virus. The World Health Organisation has described the latter as the fastest spreading vector-borne viral disease.

Companies