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Roche and the Institute for OneWorld Health Announce Research Collaboration to Fight Neglected Diarrheal Diseases in Developing Countries

SAN FRANCISCO & PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr 17, 2008 - Roche and the Institute for OneWorld Health announced today that they have entered into a collaboration under which OneWorld Health will screen compounds from the Roche library to identify a potential new drug for the treatment of diarrheal diseases, which kills approximately 2 million children under the age of five in developing countries each year.

With the pediatric death toll due to diarrheal illnesses exceeding that of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined, OneWorld Health is working to discover and develop a novel anti-secretory diarrheal drug to reduce fluid loss and help prevent death from dehydration caused by acute watery diarrheal disease. This treatment is intended to be used as an adjunct to Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT) and zinc to save the lives of infants and children.

"Roche is pleased to contribute to the efforts of OneWorld Health to find a drug," said Lee Babiss, Head of Global Research Roche Pharmaceuticals. "By bringing together skills and resources from both Roche and OneWorld Health, we believe we have a much greater chance of finding a new, more effective treatment for life-threatening childhood secretory diarrhea."

The Institute for OneWorld Health is a nonprofit pharmaceutical company that develops safe, effective and affordable new medicines for people with infectious diseases in the developing world. Roche is a multinational pharmaceutical company that screens millions of compounds annually to find potential new medicines. Through the partnership announced today, OneWorld Health will have access to compounds in Roche's library, with the goal of finding a potential medicine to treat childhood diarrhea in developing countries. OneWorld Health is assembling a portfolio of product candidates to address various aspects of diarrheal diseases, with a special focus on treatments for infants and young children.

Dr. David Brown, Portfolio Head and interim Chair of the Board of Directors for OneWorld Health said: "This new partnership is an important next step in our plans to expand our diarrheal disease program and ensure that a robust pipeline of new treatments is under development."

In 2006, OneWorld Heath received a grant of $46 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to expand its unique research on new treatments to complement traditional approaches for fighting diarrhea. These treatments are designed to be used as an adjunct to oral rehydration therapy (ORT) for the treatment of life-threatening enterotoxigenic E. Coli (ETEC) and cholera, which are responsible for nearly 40% of reported cases of diarrheal disease. OneWorld Health is conducting searches to license potential drug candidates and has consulted with leading researchers to evaluate promising products and identify key development challenges.

About the Institute for OneWorld Health

The Institute for OneWorld Health, the first US nonprofit pharmaceutical company, develops safe, effective and affordable new medicines for people with infectious diseases in the developing world. The Institute for OneWorld Health, headquartered in San Francisco, California, USA, is a tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) US corporation. (

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About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world's leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As the world's biggest biotech company and an innovator of products and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, the Group contributes on a broad range of fronts to improving people's health and quality of life. Roche is the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics and drugs for cancer and transplantation, and is a market leader in virology. It is also active in other major therapeutic areas such as autoimmune diseases, inflammatory and metabolic disorders and diseases of the central nervous system. In 2007 sales by the Pharmaceuticals Division totalled 36.8 billion Swiss francs, and the Diagnostics Division posted sales of 9.3 billion francs. Roche has R&D agreements and strategic alliances with numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and Chugai, and invested over 8 billion Swiss francs in R&D in 2007. Worldwide, the Group employs about 79,000 people. Additional information is available on the Internet at


Institute for OneWorld Health
James Hickman, +1-415-403-6317
Michele Parisi, +1-925-429-1850

Posted: April 2008