Drug Development Global Program

Targeting diarrheal diseases

An estimated 600,000 children under five years of age die every year from diarrheal disease, making it the second most common killer of young children after pneumonia. Survivors who are inadequately treated suffer long-term health problems. With about 2 billion cases of diarrheal disease globally every year, the world has an urgent need for safe, effective, and affordable treatments.


In 2011, we received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for phase 1 clinical trials of an investigational new drug called iOWH032 to treat acute secretory diarrhea resulting from diseases like cholera. This first-in-class synthetic drug has the potential to treat diarrheal processes directly by blocking the flow of chloride ions and thus the loss of water out of the gastrointestinal tract, thereby reducing dehydration. In December 2014, iOWH032 completed a pharmacokinetics trial in healthy Bangladeshi volunteers and in patients with acute cholera. By providing faster relief of diarrhea symptoms, antisecretory drugs like iOWH032 have the potential to complement the use and encourage wider adoption of oral rehydration solution and other proven therapies. For more information about iOWH032, see Clinicaltrials.gov using the identifier NCT01823939.

The molecular composition of the iOWH032 compound.

Molecular composition of iOWH032.

Get looped into the global movement

The value of an integrated approach to diarrheal disease is a network of proven and new solutions and partnerships that can help us create a world where no child dies from diarrhea. Learn how an integrated approach could save thousands of children’s lives each year. 

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