25 February 2019

From Africa to Asia: Important dialogues for the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium

Consortium partners have been interacting with the local community in Ivory Coast and with experts from all over the world in Thailand to pave the way for an appropriate access path for the new pediatric drug

At the end of last year, a visit in Ivory Coast, involving Consortium partners (Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and the Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Ivory Coast), was the opportunity for a series of meetings. These allowed to interact with governmental representatives, to advance in the preparation of the clinical Phase III trial and to involve the local communities to reach the patients. 

The ‘sustainability’ of the clinical study site infrastructures and of the enhanced research know-how in the Regional Hospital of Man (Ivory Coast) has also been in the focus of the discussions.  Performing pediatric clinical studies on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in rural areas in Africa remains a key challenge, and the Consortium wants to continue playing a role towards addressing this concern.

In January 2019, Consortium partners reached Bangkok (Thailand) for a ‘Global Dialogue’ on innovation, access and delivery.  This event brought together experts from around the world to discuss ways to improve the development and delivery of lifesaving health solutions.  Asked to join a panel discussion, the Program Lead, Dr. Elly Kourany-Lefoll (from Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany) presented the ‘Private Sector Perspective on changes in funding sources and collaborative strategies’, giving as well the perspective of the Pediatric Praziquantel (PZQ) Consortium in terms of procurement approach and access path.  Together with the Consortium partner, Astellas Pharma Inc. (Japan), an important dialogue with experts has been opened, calling for actions into the definition of new financial models in access strategies for NTD innovations, like it is the case of the pediatric PZQ formulation program.

Throughout the year, the Consortium will continue to pave the way for innovative procurement mechanisms and an appropriate access path, with the aim of allowing ‘free of charge’ treatment to the very young children suffering from schistosomiasis.

Image: Elly Kourany-Lefoll (program Lead of the Consortium; Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany) with Eliézer K. N’Goran (Principal Investigator for the clinical trial), Mamadou Ouattara and David Aka (from Université Félix-Houphouët-Boigny, Ivory Coast)