Rare and neglected diseases have traditionally received little attention from researchers. Fortunately, that is changing – and Novartis has developed dedicated research organizations, collaborations and financing mechanisms to help address this challenge.
Our research priorities are not determined by potential market size. The strategy of our R&D organization, the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR), actively targets rare diseases where we have clear understanding of the disease's underlying cause and where there is real unmet medical need.
More than one billion people – one-sixth of the world's population -- are affected by neglected diseases. There is an urgent need to develop better and more affordable drugs for diseases that are devastating in developing countries.
Novartis is committed to researching medicines for diseases of the developing world through two specialist institutes within NIBR:
A collaboration between Novartis and the Singapore Economic Development Board, with more than 100 international scientists based in Singapore. The institute researches novel treatments for major tropical diseases, and provides teaching and training for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, building capacity to address medical challenges in the developing world. Medicines discovered by the institute will be made available at not-for-profit prices to patients who need them.
Helping manage malaria drug supplies using mobile phone technology
SMS for Life is a public-private partnership initiated by Novartis with the goal of eliminating stock-outs of antimalarials in Tanzania. Part of our broader commitment to fighting malaria, SMS for Life uses mobile phones, SMS messages and electronic mapping technology to help ensure health facilities do not run out of antimalarial medicines. The program won the 2011 Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Technology Innovation Award in the Health-Care IT category.
Applying novel research to diseases of the developing world
In collaboration with OneWorld Health, a US-based not-for-profit pharmaceutical company, NIBR is applying expertise from research targeting cystic fibrosis to tackle secretory diarrhea - a disease that kills more than 1.6 million children a year in developing countries.