We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.

The full article is available here as HTML.

Press Ctrl-C to copy

The biotech industry provides rich resources and expertise that could help tackle neglected diseases, say Joanna E. Lowell and Christopher D. Earl from BIO Ventures for Global Health in Washington DC.

Biotech has several advantages over the pharmaceutical industry, argue the authors. Companies are younger and more entrepreneurial so can take higher risks, are focused on innovation, and specialise in creating methods to find drug targets that should be amenable to drug discovery for neglected diseases. Biotech companies have become the engines of innovation for global pharmaceutical development, say the authors.

Many neglected diseases — including malaria, tuberculosis and lymphatic filariasis — suffer from an 'innovation gap', where too few drug discovery programmes are in place to ensure a steady stream of approved treatments. More drug discovery is critical to sustaining a pipeline of new medicines — and it could come from the biotech industry, argue the authors.

But to get involved, biotech companies need educating about the opportunities, incentives and markets available to the application of their technologies. Connecting companies to academic experts who understand the biology of neglected diseases, and with larger companies accustomed to running clinical trials in the developing world, is also essential.

Link to full article in Nature Biotechnology