Only 3% of the pharmaceutical industry’s research and development budget is dedicated to diseases in the developing world, despite the fact the world’s poorest countries bear 90% of the global disease burden. In an effort to address this imbalance, former Food and Drug Administration official Victoria Hale founded OneWorld Health in 2000 – the world’s first non-profit pharmaceutical company. Now led by Richard Chin, the San Francisco based organization is dedicated to discovering, developing and delivering new medicines and vaccines for neglected and poverty-related diseases.
OneWorld Health operates as a Product Development Partnership with a network structure established specially to pursue the aim of developing high quality treatments and interventions and bringing them to market cost-effectively. Though drug development is a necessarily patient endeavor, the organization has already achieved some notable breakthroughs. A new chemical entity to treat pediatric diarrhea is currently undergoing human clinical trials, while a low-cost synthetic alternative to a central malaria treatment ingredient is in use. Similarly, an affordable, safe and effective treatment for Visceral Leishmaniasis – the second largest parasitic killer in the world – has been added to the World Health Organization’s Model List of Essential Medicines and has been approved for use by the Indian government.