TDR collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2006 Dec;100 Suppl 1:S21-5. doi: 10.1016/j.trstmh.2006.02.013. Epub 2006 May 26.


TDR's research programme was initiated in 1976 at the same time that the pharmaceutical industry began to withdraw from the discovery and development of new drugs for tropical diseases. TDR collaborated with the industry right from the start, its prime objective initially being to ensure that candidate drugs already in the development pipeline, such as praziquantel, mefloquine, ivermectin, halofantrine and atovaquone/proguanil, were not shelved. It became clear during the 1980s that once candidate drugs in these existing pipelines had been processed, that would be it. TDR therefore developed a number of other ways for collaboration, including testing compounds already in development in companies for other therapeutic areas. One candidate identified in this way was an oral formulation of miltefosine, in development in Asta Medica for an antitumour indication. A joint Asta Medica (later Zentaris)/TDR development project was agreed, and despite its fair share of traumas during the development process, miltefosine is now registered for the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis in India, Germany and Colombia. This example of a successful TDR/pharmaceutical industry collaboration lives on in the various Public Private Partnerships such as the new Medicines for Malaria Venture that TDR helped to spawn.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiprotozoal Agents* / chemical synthesis
  • Antiprotozoal Agents* / supply & distribution
  • Antiprotozoal Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Drug Industry*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Leishmaniasis / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Phosphorylcholine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Phosphorylcholine / chemical synthesis
  • Phosphorylcholine / supply & distribution
  • Phosphorylcholine / therapeutic use
  • Public Sector
  • Tropical Medicine*


  • Antiprotozoal Agents
  • Phosphorylcholine
  • miltefosine