The US National Institutes of Health has announced it is setting up a Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases Program see NIH press release. It is a new move for NIH to become so directly involved in drug development.
The full list of diseases which will be targeted by the programme is not yet clear but at least one of the infectious diseases of poverty seems likely to be included. “We don’t know yet exactly which diseases this programme will take on,” Dr Alan Guttmacher, acting director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, told a press briefing. However, referring to a compound (4-phenyl-1,2,5-oxadiazole-3-carbonitrile-2-oxide) recently identified as being active against schistosomiasis, he said (according to the National Post), “This, I think, is one of the projects that we are going to put into the trend queue”.