Dennis Liotta wants to make some of the world’s most devastating diseases a thing of the past. Liotta is the Executive Director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development and Editor-in-Chief of ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. And he has devoted his career to developing drugs for so-called “neglected diseases,” conditions that mostly affect poorer countries and that pharmaceutical companies generally ignore.
AIDS was once one of these neglected diseases. But in the 1990s, Liotta set out to make it possible to live with the condition. Now, 94% of HIV-infected people in the U.S. take or have taken the drug he invented and live near-normal lives.
Liotta hopes to do the same with drugs for other conditions. And he believes it’s possible to research and fund development of drugs for neglected diseases at a global scale.
He shared these ideas during at TEDx talk in Geneva, Switzerland in February. And as he told ACS Axial, the presentation was a challenge even for an experienced speaker. “I’ve given thousands of presentations in my career,” he says. “But the TED experience was much more intense than I’d imagined. I’ve never prepared as much for any other presentation.”
Watch the presentation here: