Discovering, developing, and distributing
drugs for tropical infectious diseases
60° Pharmaceuticals (60P) was founded with the goal of discovering, developing, and distributing drugs for tropical diseases, including those considered neglected by the World Health Organization. Malaria and dengue are usually on this list, but despite competitive drug development pipelines for these diseases, critical gaps remain.
60P is focused on drug development for therapeutic methods left unaddressed by the established research and development networks. In order to improve overall return on investment, 60P will also invest in products for tropical diseases targeted at market segments in industrialized countries.
Unmet medical need for dengue drugs
Dengue—a mosquito-borne viral disease that has dramatically spread across multiple tropical regions of the world1—is a serious global health burden. An estimated 3.9 billion people worldwide are at risk of infection with dengue viruses,2 and a recent estimate indicates there are 390 million dengue infections per year, of which 96 million manifest clinically (with any severity of disease).3 Even mild dengue may progress to a hemorrhagic form and cause death.
The total annual global cost of dengue illness has been estimated at US$8.9 billion during 2013.4 Potential drug sales, assuming 100% market share, are estimated to be $338 million per annum.5 The current standard of care is fever and pain relief and transfer to ICUs. Dengue vaccines are coming, but supply constraints, cost, and other factors may limit their impact. Dengue drugs would complement the use of dengue vaccines by public health systems, provide relief to dengue patients, and substantially reduce economic costs associated with the disease.
New drugs for malaria prevention (and the problems with the old ones)
Malaria is a parasitic disease causing 212 million clinical infections and 429,000 deaths annually in endemic countries6 and is a constant threat to travelers from other countries who lack any immunity to malaria. Despite a supply of artemisinin combination therapies and bed nets to treat malaria and prevent transmission, and a partially effective vaccine in the periphery, these tools alone are unlikely to allow regional malaria elimination in the near future.
In the travel medicine market, existing drugs are only partially adequate. They simply do not protect against all species of the parasite in all parts of the world. Busy travelers are required to adhere to daily dosing or complicated schedules for post-exposure prophylaxis.
The malaria threat – Prophylaxis
References 1. Dengue and Severe Dengue Fact Sheet. Geneva: World Health Organization; April 2017. 2. Brady OJ, Gething PW, Bhatt S, Messina JP, Brownstein JS, Hoen AG, et al. Refining the global spatial limits of dengue virus transmission by evidence-based consensus. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2012;6:e1760. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001760. 3. Bhatt S, Gething PW, Brady OJ, Messina JP, Farlow AW, Moyes CL, et al. The global distribution and burden of dengue. Nature; 496:504-507. 4. Shepard D, Eduardo U, Yara H, Stanaway J. The global economic burden of dengue: a systematic analysis. The Lancet; Volume 16, No. 8, pp. 935–941, August 2016. 5. Dow G, Mora E. The maximum potential market for dengue drugs V 1.0. ScienceDirect; Volume 96, Issue 2, November 2012, pp. 203–212. 6. World Malaria Report 2016. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2016. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO. 7. Gubler, D. J. 1998. Dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 11: 480-496.