The Bank’s portfolio has 12 projects contracted, totaling about R$ 250 million of non-reimbursable research and scientific projects
In 2017 alone, the Bank disbursed R$ 70 million for this purpose
In 2017 alone, the Bank disbursed R$ 70 million for research and development of diagnoses and treatment for neglected diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, Zika and dengue viruses, which are precisely the ones of greater impact on the poorest populations.
The BNDES portfolio has 12 projects contracted, totaling about R$ 250 million, which represents more than half of the non-reimbursable BNDES support in the health field. Due to its high social impact and low interest from private companies, the BNDES support for the development of innovations for neglected diseases is mainly done through the Technology Fund, which comprises non-refundable funds focused on partnership projects between scientific and technological institutions and companies.
As they affect vulnerable populations in poor regions, the so-called neglected diseases are characterized by the lack of investment in research and development of new diagnostics and treatment. These diseases are responsible for 11% of the global burden of disease, but only 1% of new medicines are directed to them.
Since 2014, the Bank has integrated G-Finder, a global report that maps the investment for the development of innovative solutions for neglected diseases. With the 2017 performance, BNDES will be one of the largest financers of research for neglected diseases in Latin America, joining other important institutions in the country such as the Ministry of Health and FAPESP.
Among the projects financed by BNDES, PUC-RS and the pharmaceutical industry, União Química submitted a request to start human trials for a new medication for tuberculosis, the last drug of which was developed back in the 1960s. The same phase contains the new vaccine for Rheumatic Fever, developed by Butantan. Another example is the child-appropriate formulation of Praziquantel, a medicine used in the treatment for schistosomiasis that is in the research phase for the viability of large-scale production at UFRJ.
Through the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, BNDES also finances the Brazilian arm of Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), an initiative from the Doctors Without Borders that aims to mobilize research for neglected diseases on several fronts. Among the six projects supported, the main ones are the pediatric formulation of Efavirenz, a component of the AIDS cocktail, and the development of a diagnostic kit for several neglected diseases (malaria, trachoma, schistosomiasis, tuberculosis, and leprosy) in a single examination that can be performed at the place of attendance without the need for blood or urine transportation by the patients. This type of development has the potential to benefit remote regions since it reduces costs and logistics.