The pipeline for drugs for control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases : 1. Anti-infective drugs for regulatory registration

Pfarr, Kenneth M. and Krome, Anna K. and Al-Obaidi, Issraa and Batchelor, Hannah and Vaillant, Michel and Hoerauf, Achim and Opoku, Nicholas O. and Kuesel, Annette C. (2023) The pipeline for drugs for control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases : 1. Anti-infective drugs for regulatory registration. Parasites and Vectors, 16 (1). 82. ISSN 1756-3305 (

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The World Health Organization ‘Ending the neglect to attain the Sustainable Development Goals: A road map for neglected tropical diseases 2021–2030’ outlines the targets for control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). New drugs are needed to achieve some of them. We are providing an overview of the pipeline for new anti-infective drugs for regulatory registration and steps to effective use for NTD control and elimination. Considering drugs approved for an NTD by at least one stringent regulatory authority: fexinidazole, included in WHO guidelines for Trypanosoma brucei gambiense African trypanosomiasis, is in development for Chagas disease. Moxidectin, registered in 2018 for treatment of individuals ≥ 12 years old with onchocerciasis, is undergoing studies to extend the indication to 4–11-year-old children and obtain additional data to inform WHO and endemic countries' decisions on moxidectin inclusion in guidelines and policies. Moxidectin is also being evaluated for other NTDs. Considering drugs in at least Phase 2 clinical development, a submission is being prepared for registration of acoziborole as an oral treatment for first and second stage T.b. gambiense African trypanosomiasis. Bedaquiline, registered for tuberculosis, is being evaluated for multibacillary leprosy. Phase 2 studies of emodepside and flubentylosin in O. volvulus-infected individuals are ongoing; studies for Trichuris trichuria and hookworm are planned. A trial of fosravuconazole in Madurella mycetomatis-infected patients is ongoing. JNJ-64281802 is undergoing Phase 2 trials for reducing dengue viral load. Studies are ongoing or planned to evaluate oxantel pamoate for onchocerciasis and soil-transmitted helminths, including Trichuris, and oxfendazole for onchocerciasis, Fasciola hepatica, Taenia solium cysticercosis, Echinococcus granulosus and soil-transmitted helminths, including Trichuris. Additional steps from first registration to effective use for NTD control and elimination include country registrations, possibly additional studies to inform WHO guidelines and country policies, and implementation research to address barriers to effective use of new drugs. Relative to the number of people suffering from NTDs, the pipeline is small. Close collaboration and exchange of experience among all stakeholders developing drugs for NTDs may increase the probability that the current pipeline will translate into new drugs effectively implemented in affected countries. Graphical Abstract: