A total of 790 million yen for the development of products against neglected tropical diseases

TOKYO, November 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) fund today announced a total of approximately 790 million yen ($5.3 million*) to invest in the development of products against lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis, two neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).** (Annex 1)

“Even in the midst of a pandemic, the GHIT Fund is committed to advancing product development to contribute to global health with Japanese technologies and innovation for patients suffering from neglected diseases by strengthening partnerships with partners product development and funding partners,“said Dr. Osamu KuniiCEO of the GHIT fund.

Neglected tropical diseases caused by parasitic infection: development of new drugs for
lymphatic filariasis and

Lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) and onchocerciasis (river blindness) are two neglected tropical diseases caused by parasitic worms. These diseases affect more than 86 million people worldwide. Existing drugs mainly target young worms and not adult worms. This means that sustained and prolonged delivery with high treatment coverage to endemic communities is needed to break the cycle of transmission of long-lived adult worms.

Through a GHIT Fund investment project, which started in 2013, the project team has already demonstrated that adult worms can be killed by eliminating a symbiotic bacteria they contain, called Wolbachia.

This time around 790 million yen ($5.3 million*) will be invested to further develop the new drug through a phase II clinical trial to assess its efficacy in patients with onchocerciasis.

From November 11th, there are 61 ongoing projects, including 28 breakthroughs, 20 preclinical trials and 13 clinical trials in the GHIT portfolio (Appendix 2). The total amount of investments since 2013 is 28.4 billion yen ($191 million).

* USD1 = JPY¥148.28, the approximate exchange rate on October 31, 2022.
**These award-winning projects were selected from a number of proposals to RFP2022-001 for Target Research Platform, Screening Platform, Hit-to-Lead Platform, and Hit-to-Lead Platform. product development, which was open to applications from November 2021 at July 2022. The council of the GHIT led in July 2022 approved these new investments.

The GHIT Fund is a Japaninternational public-private partnership (PPP) fund between the government of Japan, several pharmaceutical companies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The GHIT Fund invests in and manages an R&D portfolio of development partnerships targeting neglected diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases that afflict vulnerable and underserved populations around the world. The GHIT Fund mobilizes Japanese industry, universities and research institutes to create new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics against malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases, in collaboration with global partners.

Annex.1 Project Details


Project title

Phase II clinical development of AWZ1066S, a small molecule anti-Wolbachia macrofilaricide candidate

Collaborative partners

Eisai Co. Ltd., Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), University of Liverpool (UoL), Bonn University Hospital (UKB), University of Buea (UoB)


Lymphatic Filariasis/Onchocerciasis




Clinical development (Phase II)

Amount awarded

¥796,004,431 (US$5,368,252)


Ongoing project


[Project objective]

The objective of this project is to pursue the development of this drug candidate by carrying out a phase II clinical trial to assess its efficacy in patients suffering from onchocerciasis. It is an essential step in the development of a new drug and brings us closer to a new treatment for these diseases.

[Project design]

The project will involve:

  • Completion of essential preclinical safety studies before the start of the clinical trial
  • Completion and registration of the clinical trial protocol
  • Completion of phase II trial in accordance with international requirements for registration of new drugs.

Project detail


*All amounts are quoted at the exchange rate of USD1 = JPY¥148.28, the approximate exchange rate on October 31, 2022.

Annex.2 Overview of investments (at November 11, 2022)

1. Investment to date

Total investments 28.4 billion yen ($191 million*)
Total invested projects 114(active projects 61, completed projects 53)

2. Portfolio analysis (active projects + completed projects)

  • Discovery ¥4,786,054,912 ($32,277,144) 16.8%
    (64 projects)
  • Preclinical ¥15,814,803,834 ($106,655,003) 55.6%
    (31 projects)
  • Clinic ¥7,827,987,167 ($52,791,929) 27.6%
    (19 projects)
  • Malaria ¥12,346,034,940 ($83,261,633) 43.4%
    (51 projects)
  • Tuberculosis ¥3,000,237,389 ($20,233,594) 10.6%
    (21 projects)
  • MTN ¥13,082,573,584 ($88,228,848) 46.0%
    (42 projects)
  • Drugs ¥19,113,395,474 ($128,900,698) 67.2%
    (74 projects)
  • Vaccines ¥6,558,439,163 ($44,230,100) 23.1%
    (25 projects)
  • Diagnosis ¥2,757,011,276 ($18,593,278) 9.7%
    (15 projects)

*All amounts are quoted at the exchange rate of USD1 = JPY¥148.28, the approximate exchange rate on October 31, 2022.

To learn more about GHIT investments, please visit
Investment overview: https://www.ghitfund.org/investment/overview/en
Wallet: https://www.ghitfund.org/investment/portfolio/en
Portfolio progress: https://www.ghitfund.org/investment/advancingportfolio/en
Clinical Candidates: https://www.ghitfund.org/investment/clinicalcandidates/en

For more information contact:
Katy Lenard at +1-301-280-5719 or [email protected]
Eriko Mugitani at +81-36441-2032 or [email protected]

SOURCE Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund

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