Today the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) in Latin America received the Carlos Slim Health Award for 10 years of exceptional work and achievements in research and development (R&D) to deliver new treatments for neglected patients in the region. The $100,000 award will be presented at a ceremony in April in Mexico City.
"Without doubt we must celebrate that the jury decided to recognize the work done by DNDi in Latin America in the last 10 years," said Roberto Tapia, Director of the Carlos Slim Health Institute. "We hope this award sets a precedent for boosting further commitments for health innovations in Latin America. It is a call to encourage more actors to come together and increase discovery and development of new health innovations for poor, marginalized, and forgotten people whose health needs continue to be neglected."
The awards were given by the Carlos Slim Health Institute, founded six years ago by internationally renowned entrepreneur Carlos Slim Hel- of Mexico. The Institute is a nonprofit organization focused on key health issues affecting the most vulnerable populations of Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The awards are granted annually in two categories: Life Achievements in Research, and Outstanding Institution. Of 75 nominations from 15 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, DNDi Latin America was selected for the 2013 Outstanding Institution award for its exceptional work in the region on R&D for neglected diseases.
"Receiving the Carlos Slim Health Award is an honor, acknowledging DNDi's continuous neglected-disease research efforts in the Americas," said Eric Stobbaerts, Executive Director of DNDi Latin America. "Our primary focus is to deliver urgently needed treatments using a model that has proved efficient to fight diseases affecting millions of neglected people."
Marking its 10th year in 2013, DNDi and its partners have developed and delivered, through an innovative R&D model, six new treatments for neglected diseases since its inception. Two of these life-saving innovations were developed in Latin America: artesunate + mefloquine (ASMQ) for the treatment of malaria, and a pediatric dosage form of benznidazole for the treatment of children with Chagas disease, the leading parasitic killer in the Americas. Since its launch in 2008, approximately 260,000 ASMQ treatments have been made available to patients by the Brazilian public pharmaceutical manufacturer Farmanguinhos/Fiocruz.