Short Summary

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) is a collaborative, patients’ needs-driven, non-profit drug research and development organization. It is developing new treatments for neglected diseases, notably leishmaniasis (more info here), Chagas disease, malaria, paediatric HIV, and specific helminth infections.

Website address: dndi.org

Location: Transnational—headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, with offices in Kenya, India, Brazil, Malaysia, Japan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, and an affiliate in the USA

Executive Director: Dr. Bernard Pécoul, Former Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) France General Director

Logo. source


After MSF won the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize, they set aside part of their award to invest in an alternative to profit-driven pharmaceutical development. In so doing, they aimed to help rectify the problem of neglected, under-researched diseases. Four years later, in 2003, they collaborated with the World Health Organization and five international research institutions to found DNDi.

Dr. Bernard Pécoul, DNDi Executive Director:

"When we received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999, MSF did not have the medicines we needed to carry out our lifesaving work. So we decided to dedicate a portion of the funds received to launch a brand-new model of R&D. Four years later, DNDi was born." (source)
DNDi believes that neglected patients deserve the best science, and works to influence the research and development (R&D) landscape on behalf of these patients through political leadership for needs-driven R&D, the creation of a global fund and provision of evidence regarding alternative models of R&D.

From DNDi's mission statement:

"[Our mission is] to develop new treatments for people living with neglected diseases. Acting in the public interest, DNDi bridges existing R&D gaps in essential drugs for these diseases by initiating and coordinating drug R&D projects in collaboration with the international research community, the public sector, the pharmaceutical industry, and other relevant partners."
Their goal is to develop and deliver 16 to 18 treatments using EUR 650 million by 2023, while covering ~10 disease areas. An additional goal is to strengthen research capacity led by their regional offices in disease-endemic countries.

Importantly, DNDi integrates access to medical knowledge and treatments while delinking the costs of R&D from the price of the final product. The treatments they discover are royalty-free in perpetuity, with worldwide research and manufacturing rights guaranteed. Their partners must commit to make the final product available at cost plus a minimal margin in all countries where the disease is endemic, regardless of income level. Non-exclusivity enables technology transfer and local production to multiply sources of production and decrease products' cost.

YOUTUBE wUOeGODbWhM Short video about DNDi

YOUTUBE aSU4y-DFwt8 $1 for 1 Life, a documentary about DNDI by Fréderic Laffont

Friends & Partners

DNDI has a total of 180 partners across 40 countries as of 2021. They describe collaboration as "essential" to their model: "we cannot carry out our work without the engagement of public and private partners" (source).
  • List of DNDi's partners
  • List of Friends of DNDi, a group of "select individuals who support DNDi’s mission and vision by engaging global influencers, policymakers and supporters to help DNDi succeed in reaching its objectives."
  • Medicines for Malaria Venture, which seeks to reduce the prevalence of malaria by developing new antimalarial drugs with the goal of affordability for distribution to under-served populations


DNDi depends on donors. It seeks different sources of funding from governments and international organisations, Founding Partners who provide ongoing support, private foundations and large donors, and individuals. According to its website, "DNDi is well-positioned to obtain the funds necessary to sufficiently support its mission, vision, and objectives, and to maintain independence."

A minimum of 50 percent of DNDi's budget is required to be publicly funded. No one donor may be responsible for more than 25 percent of donations, and DNDi does not accept grants from the pharmaceutical industry. (source)

The Friends of DNDi, a group of individuals from around the world committed to DNDi’s vision and mission (see "Friends & Partners" section), give DNDi an additional tool to strengthen and support the fundraising strategy, as well as raising awareness of the need for R&D for neglected diseases.

YOUTUBE tulpS871MwA DNDI Business Plan 2015-2023

See Also

Other commons categories that are related to this one's, or specific similar examples