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Dr.Victoria Hale and Dr. Ahvie Herskowitz founded OneWorld Health Organisation in 2000. The organisation received an exemption from tax payment in 2001. The reception of the status marked the company as the first United States pharmaceutical company to act on a non-profit making basis (OWH, 2012). The organisation has a goal of taking medication for infectious diseases among the poor people. These include such diseases like malaria, hookworm and kala-azar (OWH, 2012). The company has achieved several milestones over the years.
The company's mission statement is to “discover, develop, and deliver safe effective and affordable new treatments for infectious diseases afflicting children in the developing world” (OWH, 2012).
The organisation has undertaken several programs towards the realization of their vision. They have been funded by other organisations and these programs are all described in the following section.
Kala-azar (Visceral Leishmaniasis)
In 2002, there were two drug projects for Chagas and kala-azar (visceral leishmaniasis). This gave the company an opportunity to collaborate with the National Institute of Allergy. In 2003, the company signed a collaborative licensing agreement with the Special Programme for research and Training in the Tropical Disease (TDR). This was towards the fulfilment of the enterprise by WHO to develop a new therapy for visceral leishmaniasis (OWH, 2012). The company conducted the phase 3 stage of the clinical trial in India. This marked the trial of paromomycin, which is an off patient antibiotic. They also received new compounds that could assist in the treatment of Chagas from the University of Washington and Yale University.
In 2004, OneWorld Health Organisation collaborated with the Special Programme for research and Training in Tropical Diseases of the World Health Organisation to complete the phase three trials to eliminate visceral leishmaniasis by use of the paromomycin antibiotic (OWH, 2012). It was also awarded grants by Chiron Foundation to promote the studies towards the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis in 2004. In 2005, the organisation received $ 10 million from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the trial and post approval of paromycin. It also received Orphan Drug Designation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This was meant for paromomycin vaccine to treat visceral leishmaniasis. In 2006, the company received endorsement from the Indian Drug Controller General for treatment of visceral leishmaniasis (OWH, 2012).
The drug produced was made available to the public by Gland Pharma. In 2007, part four of the Paromomycin IM Injection was launched in India by OneWorld Health Organisation. They had a goal of getting a transferable access model that is also easy to scale in the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis. The malaria team then selected a contract-manufacturing partner who would scale up the development process (OWH, 2012). In 2009, the kala-azar treatment campaign was extended to Bangladesh and then to Nepal. OneWorld Health also collaborated with Norvatis Company in the discovery and development of treatment for secretory diarrhoea (OWH, 2012). This was geared towards the prevention of excessive water loss through the gastrointestinal tract. It completed its screening campaigns in the Roche library compounds and got 40 new leads for the drugs to treat diarrheal in children.
OneWorld Health Organisation also received $42.6 million from Bill Melinda Gates Foundation to develop artemisinin using synthetic biology (OWH, 2012). Bill Melinda Gates Foundation also donated funds to the organisation to develop a vaccine for malaria treatment as well as prevention. The organisation also collaborated with Amyris Biotechnologies also with UC Berkeley to provide antimalarial ingredient. The aim of this collaboration was to develop an affordable ingredient by use of synthetic biology. In the same year, Santababra University of California donated a licence to the company to discover how calcium channel blockers can control schistosomiasis (OWH, 2012).
In 2008, the company collaborated with Roche Company to screen 700,000 compounds to identify a new drug to combat the diarrheal disease. It also collaborated with Amyris biotechnologies to develop semi synthetic artemisinin. This is a key ingredient in the malarial treatments. OWH was named by FAST Company to be the social enterprises of the year (OWH, 2012).
In 2010, OneWorld Health Organisation received almost $ 8 million grant from the Department of International Development (DfID) in the UK. This was to assist in infectious diseases that affect the poorest people in the world (OWH, 2012). DfID also granted an additional $5 million to fund the organisation existing projects and the diarrheal diseases program. They also received $ 10.7 million from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to assist in the commercialization of artemisinin an ingredient in the malarial treatments (OWH, 2012).
In 2011, OneWorld Health Organisation with its partners completed the scientific work that was to assist in artemisinin production. This was used as a key ingredient in Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT), which helps in the treatment of malaria. OneWorld Health Organisation in collaboration with Sanofi Aventis also announced the start of the manufacture and sale of the product by April 2012(OWH, 2012). This shall mark the construction of an affordable and non-seasonal source of artemisinin, as it is semi synthetic.
In the same year, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave a $46 million towards the organisation’s Diarrheal Disease Program. The Organisation Diarrheal Program was geared towards the complimenting of traditional approaches that were used to control diarrhoea (OWH, 2012). OneWorld Health Organisation also collaborated with Bio Focus DPI to identify candidates for the new drugs produced in the diarrheal program using their medicinal knowledge. In 2011, the organisations also collaborated with Anacor Pharmaceuticals to research on and discover antibacterial compounds that treat bloody diarrhoea. It was also granted phase one trials by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for iOWH032, which will treat secretory diarrhoea. This results from infectious diseases like Cholera (OWH, 2012).
OneWorld Health has a program to curb the Soil Transmitted Helminth (STH). This disease typically affects people in predominantly Africa, Asia and Latin America (OWH, 2012). The organisation takes this approach to help the poor to get off this infection that is largely ignored in the health fraternity. The organisation has collaborated with researchers like University of California and the University of Sandiego as well as the Swiss Tropical Institute to get the new drug candidates. OneWorld Health has established centres for epidemiology training in Vietnam and India (OWH, 2012).
OneWorld Health Organisation also ensures that treatments of the illness are available to the poor patients. They completed a study in India in 2009 to show amplification of Paromomycin Intramuscular Injection (PMIM) to help to heal the Hemininth illness (OWH, 2012). The organisation also does this concerning other illnesses with a target of reaching the poor in whatever continent (WHO, 2012).
The Impact of Organisation
OneWorld Health Organisation is impressive as it addresses the diseases that have been eliminated from the wealthy countries (OWH, 2012). These diseases are, however, still rampant in the poor countries as most people do not have the finances to get the cure. The organisation thus gets funds from other organisations and well-wishers and addresses the problems that are faced by the poor people. OneWorld Health Organisation, lives to fulfil its vision that modern medicine should reach everyone. This, in turn, ensures that death rates are reduced (OWH, 2012).