Institute for OneWorld Health
OneWorld Health is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit drug development organization founded in San Francisco in 2000. Its mission is to discover, develop, and deliver safe, effective and affordable new treatments and interventions for people with neglected infectious diseases in the developing countries, with an emphasis on diseases that disproportionately afflict children. The organization aims to serve as a positive agent for change by saving lives, improving health, and fulfilling the promise of medicine for those most in need. It works with partners around the globe to identify potential new medicines for neglected infectious diseases afflicting vulnerable populations in developing countries, assess the safety and effectiveness of investigational medicines, honor international ethical standards for research, collaborate to manufacture and distribute new medicines, and ensure that medicines will be affordable and available for distribution.
 Drug development efforts
Current global initiatives are focused on the following core neglected disease areas:
- Cholera and other diarrheal diseases. OneWorld Health has received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop anti-secretory drugs that will synergize with Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT) to prevent deaths from neglected diarrheal diseases. OneWorld Health has partnered with global pharmaceutical companies Roche and Novartis for screening promising drug candidates. In 2011, OneWorld Health received U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance to proceed to phase 1 trials for its Investigational New Drug iOWH032 to treat secretory diarrheas as a result of diseases like cholera. OneWorld Health is also working to discover antibacterial compounds for treating bloody diarrhea shigellosis, in partnership with Anacor Pharmaceuticals.
- Malaria. OneWorld Health works in collaboration with synthetic biology innovator Amyris Inc. and leading pharmaceutical company sanofi-aventis to develop a semisynthetic form of artemisinin, whose derivatives are a key component in first-line malaria treatments. The synthetic biology technology is based on pioneering inventions licensed from the University of CA at Berkeley and the NRC Plant Biotechnology Institute in Canada. The collaboration, known as the Artemisinin Project, aims to create a complementary source of non-seasonal, high-quality and affordable artemisinin to supplement the current botanical supply, making it more accessible to the hundreds of millions of impoverished people who contract malaria each year. In 2011, after successful completion of the scientific work necessary to enable production of semisynthetic artemisinin, OneWorld Health announced that the Artemisinin Project has entered production and distribution phase, with the goal to facilitate integration of semisynthetic artemisinin into the supply chain and Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies by 2012.
- Kala-azar or Visceral Leishmaniasis. OneWorld Health developed Paromomycin Intramuscular Injection (PMIM) as a safe, effective and affordable treatment for kala-azar. It completed Phase 3 clinical study in India for PMIM as a new treatment for kala-azar. In August 2006, PMIM received regulatory approval by the Drug Controller General of India, and in May 2007, the drug was designated by the World Health Organization for inclusion on its Model List of Essential Medicines. OneWorld Health has completed a major Phase 4 pharmacovigilance study of PMIM for the treatment of kala-azar in India, and conducted field research to understand better the impact of the disease and treatment on rural communities of the State of Bihar in India. OneWorld Health is currently expanding its work into Bangladesh and Nepal. In 2010-2011, PMIM was used in Africa to fight endemic kala-azar.
- Helminth. OneWorld Health aims to develop a new safe and affordable drug against soil-transmitted helminthiasis, with a defined access strategy that supports global helminth control efforts. The Helminth Program has worked to establish collaborations with researchers at the Swiss Tropical Institute and the University of CA, San Diego, to evaluate potential new anthelmintic drug candidates. The Program has conducted clinical capacity building and epidemiology training at selected sites in India and Vietnam. The training assured that the participants are now better equipped to conduct epidemiological studies. OneWorld Health provided equipment to research institutes in Vietnam to help expand laboratory capacity and aid in the proper diagnosis of helminth infections.
- Access Program. OneWorld Health works to ensure that the treatments it develops are available and acceptable to at-risk patients at an affordable cost via private and public sector markets and healthcare systems. This program aims to expand access to drug and diagnostics to patients by conducting epidemiologic and market research into the barriers to access and evaluating delivery models designed to expand access. In 2009, OneWorld Health completed a study in India in collaboration with the government's Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences (RMRIMS) and ten other Indian physicians, to demonstrate how to expand access to PMIM in private health clinics outside of the main urban centers and closer to the rural population most at-risk of kala-azar. Doctors in five districts of the State of Bihar in India were trained to diagnose and treat rural patients on an outpatient basis, while making lodging and a healthy diet available during the course of treatment. The evaluation of the model demonstrated a significant reduction in the delay in time before patients received treatment from a qualified physician and a reduction in their expenditures on ineffective treatments. The Access team, in collaboration with RMRIMS, also completed field research on kala-azar in India. The team conducted a population-based survey of the annual incidence of kala-azar and its economic impact on rural households in one VL-endemic district in the State of Bihar, India.
 Major supporters
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (the Institute received 96% of its funding from the Foundation as of 2006)
- UK Department of International Development
- Other funders include Amgen, Chiron Corporation, Gap, Lehman Brothers, Pfizer, Vital Spark Foundation, Skoll Foundation
- "Institute for OneWorld Health Receives Gates Foundation Grant To Fund Development of Malaria Vaccine" (Press release). Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 13 July 2004. Retrieved 2007-07-30.
- "Institute for OneWorld Health Receives Grant To Lay Foundation for Next Steps in Control of Deadly Infectious Disease" (Press release). Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 14 April 2005. Retrieved 2007-07-30.
- Shears, Angela Rickabaugh (25 September 2006). "Curing the Third World". Philanthropy Magazine (Philanthropy Roundtable). Retrieved 2007-07-31.