Sanofi and WHO Partnership

Partnership objective

  1. Control and elimination of the most "neglected" of the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)—Sleeping Sickness, Chagas disease, Buruli Ulcer, Leishmaniasis. 
  2. Eliminate Sleeping Sickness by 2020.

The key to success in fighting these diseases is the need to address the multidimensional factors. The key to success in fighting these diseases is the need to address the multidimensional factors. Copyright Sanofi

What are the health needs and challenges?

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) impair the lives of millions of people, mainly in poor and remote areas of developing countries, conflict zones or urban slums.

Sleeping sickness new case numbers have recently declined, below 3,000 cases in 2015, yet, the screening and disease management must continue until its elimination. Leishmaniasis, Buruli ulcer and Chagas diseases each represent different challenges but are progressively coming under control.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

Sanofi and the WHO signed a first 5-year partnership to combat sleeping sickness in 2001. A third 5-year agreement was signed in 2011 with the goal to eliminate sleeping sickness and improve the management of leishmaniasis, Buruli ulcer and Chagas disease. Sanofi committed the same amount of financial backing (25 MUSD) and drug donations, bringing its total contribution to USD 75 million over 15 years (2001-2016).

These funds are dedicated to diseases management and control programs, including screening of population of endemic areas, medical staff training, disease awareness campaigns, logistics and infrastructure and surveillance of resistance to treatments.

Sanofi produces three of the five medicines effective against sleeping sickness (pentamidine, eflornithine, melarsoprol). Through this partnership, 27 million people have been screened and around 175,000 people were diagnosed and treated for the disease, which is fatal if left untreated. 

In the field of leishmaniosis, each year around 1.3 million cases of leishmaniosis are diagnosed and around 20,00 deaths occur because of the disease. In Brazil, Sanofi offers a drug (Glucantime) at a preferential price  with more than 6 million doses distributed in 2015. Glucantime® is sold at a fixed price of USD 1.47 per ampoule to developing countries.

Sanofi also contributes to developing epidemiological monitoring and research to find new treatments for Chagas disease. The WHO estimates that 6 to 7 million people are affected by Chagas disease worldwide. 

Elimination of sleeping sickness or a better disease management of leishmaniaisis, Buruli ulcer or Chagas disease can be considered thanks to a sustainable and global approach of the disease through this partnership.

The key to success in fighting these diseases is the need to address the multidimensional factors. The efforts of pharmaceutical companies in R&D need to be complemented by sufficient resources on the ground to identify the real needs of patients and provide them with the appropriate health care.

Partnership information

Company(ies) Sanofi

Partner(s) World Health Organization (WHO)

Type of Partner(s) IGOs

Therapeutic Focus Neglected Tropical Diseases

Disease(s) Buruli Ulcer, Chagas Disease, Human African Trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness), Leishmaniasis

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Product Donations, Health System Infrastructure - Training

Targeted Population(s) Children, Elderly, Marginalised / Indigenous People, Men, Mothers, People with low income, Women, Youth

Region(s) Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East & North Africa, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 20

Country(ies) Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Iran, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia

Start Date 2016

More information WHO - Sanofi Partnership

Anticipated completion date Ongoing

« Multiples challenges – beyond the donation of drugs – have been progressively tackled in ways that build sustainable capacity. The results speak for themselves. »

Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization