Earlier this week 13 pharmaceutical companies*, together with several government and nongovernmental organizations**, pledged to find solutions to eliminate or control 10 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by the year 2020. At an event in London, pharmaceutical companies committed to invest in research and development (R&D) to find new treatments for NTDs along with increasing donations of existing drugs.

Because NTDs are diseases of poverty, existing treatments are often donated by the companies that produce them or sold at drastically reduced prices. There is no traditional commercial market for NTD treatments so innovative funding mechanisms, including the formation of "product development partnerships" (PDPs), are needed to bring new drugs and vaccines to market. This week's announcement, which is being called the "London Declaration", included an influx of funding for PDPs working on treatments for river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, sleeping sickness, Chagas disease and visceral leishmaniasis. There was also commitment to R&D for NTD vaccines including development of a dengue vaccine.

In addition, agreements made by 11 drug companies are in negotiation or underway for the sharing of compounds and knowledge in order to generate new drugs for NTDs.

More information about the London Declaration is included in a joint press release, which can be found here.

*Abbott, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eisai, Gilead, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck KGaA, MSD, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi

**Becton Dickinson, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CIFF, DFID, DNDi, Lions Clubs International, Mundo Sano, USAID, World Bank