Professor Steve Ward on panel of global experts calling for greater collaboration

News article 11 Nov 2014

LSTM’s Deputy Director, Professor Steve Ward, is part of a panel of experts meeting in London, which has been convened by the Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund and the Embassy of Japan, to call for greater cross-border collaboration to ensure global preparedness for the inevitable resurgence of infectious diseases, including TB, Malaria, HIV/AIDS and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).


The GHIT Fund is a public-private partnership between five Japanese pharmaceutical companies, two Japanese government ministries, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It facilitates and funds global partnerships for the discovery and development of new health technologies, including drugs, vaccines and diagnostics, for infectious and neglected tropical diseases prevalent in developing countries.

The threat of global epidemics has highlighted the failure of the current commercial R&D market to keep up with the moving targets of infectious diseases. Researchers must identify new ways to drive drug development to rapidly address the threats that infectious diseases pose in order to meet the needs of developing world populations.

The GHIT Fund invests in the efficient and effective development of novel health technologies based on data-driven and outcomes-oriented decisions. These investments have the potential to save millions of lives and drastically improve health in the developing world.

In March this year, Professor Ward, along with colleagues within LSTM, the Department of Chemistry (University of Liverpool (UoL)) and Japanese pharmaceutical company Eisai were awarded a GHIT Fund investment to develop new drugs to target lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis.

Researchers on the project will aim to identify and develop new drug candidates that efficiently kill the intracellular bacteria Wolbachia living inside the parasitic worms responsible for both lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) and onchocerciasis (river blindness) - debilitating infections affecting more than 150 million people globally.

ghit fund