MSD - DNDi Master Agreement

Partnership objective

To support discovery and development of improved treatments for a wide range of neglected tropical diseases.

NTDs continue to cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide and represent an enduring unmet medical need. NTDs continue to cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide and represent an enduring unmet medical need. Copyright MSD

What are the health needs and challenges?

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of diseases that disproportionately affect the poorest segment of the global population and thrive in areas with limited healthcare infrastructure. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1 billion people worldwide are infected or a risk of infection by one or more NTDs.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges:

As a global healthcare company, MSD* has a broad range of resources to address NTDs. For decades they have been directly engaged with NTDs through program implementation, R&D and policy and advocacy efforts.

In June 2009, MSD and the not-for-profit product development partnership Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) entered into a master agreement to support discovery and development of improved treatments for a wide range of NTDs.

The agreement covers a wide range of NTDs including visceral leishmaniasis and Chagas disease that infect millions of people. As with many other NTDs, adequate treatments suitable for poor populations are lacking. Current therapies may be toxic, prohibitively expensive, or difficult to administer, particularly in resource-poor settings.

Under the terms of the agreement, MSD contributes small molecule assets and related intellectual property via a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to DNDi to conduct early development programs for drug candidates for treatment of NTDs, with the primary goal of manufacture and distribution of drugs at low cost to the public sector in resource-poor countries. MSD and DNDi share joint intellectual property on drug candidates generated through early development, and MSD retains the option to undertake late clinical development and registration of these drug candidates.


*MSD is known as Merck in the U.S. and Canada.


DNDi Connect to Fight the Neglect

Partnership information

Company(ies) MSD

Partner(s) Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi)

Type of Partner(s) PDPs

Therapeutic Focus Neglected Tropical Diseases

Disease(s) Chagas Disease, Leishmaniasis

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Technology Transfer - Scientific Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing, Research & Development - Development of Treatments

Targeted Population(s) Children, Men, People with low income, Women

Region(s) East Asia & Pacific, Europe & Central Asia, Latin America & Caribbean, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 121

Country(ies) Afghanistan, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, French Guiana, Gabon, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Lao PDR, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Gambia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Start Date 2009

More information Press Release

Anticipated completion date Ongoing

« We are excited by this collaboration as it represents the kind of sustainable, long-term commitment which helps us to address critical gaps in drug development for neglected diseases. »

Dr. Shing Chang, research and development director of DNDi