R&D for rare and neglected diseases
Novartis is focused on discovering and developing new medicines to treat disease and improve human health. We set our research priorities at the intersection of unmet medical need and strong science. Only later do we consider commercial opportunity. This focus leads us to actively target diseases where we can make a meaningful difference. Our “science without borders” approach to research recognizes and embraces the needs of increasingly global and diverse patient populations, including those with rare or neglected diseases.
Targeting unmet medical needs
Medical need and scientific understanding rather than economic considerations determines our research priorities.
Novartis is using our scientific and clinical expertise to address some of the biggest health challenges throughout the world. Our efforts are focused on developing new therapies to treat and prevent infectious diseases and virally induced cancers, and building scientific capabilities in developing world countries. While these efforts are integrated into our general research efforts, the two institutes below are dedicated exclusively to developing world diseases and capacity building. In developing countries where these diseases are endemic, Novartis will make treatments affordable and readily available to people in need.
The Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases in Singapore is dedicated to finding treatments for infectious tropical diseases, including malaria, African sleeping sickness, dengue fever and others.
The Novartis Vaccines Institute for Global Health based in Siena, Italy, develops affordable and effective vaccines specifically designed to combat neglected infectious diseases burdening impoverished populations. The Institute uses its industrial and scientific expertise to bridge the gap between laboratory concepts and high quality vaccines that are both clinically effective and economically viable for manufacture.
Collaborating to eliminate rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in Zambia, Africa
RHD has been eliminated in most developed nations, but sub-Saharan Africa studies show at least 2-3% of school-age children suffer from this often fatal disease.1 Novartis physicians, Zambian healthcare providers, physicians from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Pan-African Cardiology Society are collaborating to promote RHD prevention by treating children with streptococcal infections and silent RHD. The collaboration will screen 3,000 Zambian children by echocardiography and provide monthly penicillin injections to children with silent RHD to prevent recurrent strep throat and associated cardiac damage.
Partnering with the first drug discovery center on the African continent
Supported by The Novartis Research Foundation, Novartis has entered a research partnership with H3-D, the first fully integrated drug discovery and development center on the African continent, affiliated with the University of Cape Town in South Africa. The goal of the center is to educate the next generation of African scientists and to work on diseases that affect people on the African continent. The partnership between Novartis and H3-D involves research collaborations in TB and malaria, support with the set-up of a clinical study site at H3-D, scientific exchange programs and infrastructure support.
Alcon in Africa: improving eye care across the continent
Alcon, the eye care division of Novartis, sponsors a number of programs with NGO collaborators through its foundation, ranging from caring for glaucoma patients in Ethiopia and supporting nonprofit Mercy Ships that deliver healthcare to remote locations, to training eye care professionals in Sierra Leone and treating an anticipated 100,000 patients through 100 medical mission teams across sub-Saharan Africa.