Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the global medical aid charity, has committed $25 million over 5 years for an initiative to develop drugs for diseases of the developing world—like sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis, and Chagas disease. Resources for research into these diseases have been severely limited.

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), established as a legal entity in Geneva last week, will be run like a virtual pharmaceutical company, using every facility and material resource made available to it—including the pharmaceutical industry itself. But, perhaps above all, it will depend on the skills and experience of large networks of researchers in the developing, and developed, world.

Yves Champey, who is interim director of DNDi, a doctor, and past research director of Rhône-Poulenc Rohrer, was driven to develop DNDi after working with poor communities in West Africa. Champey told The Scientist that DNDi would use the existing research capacity on the target...

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