The potential of openly sharing drug development data for neglected or rare diseases was aptly demonstrated with this week’s announcement of the identification of three promising compounds targeting the treatment of trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis.
The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) announce the findings today, obtained through DNDi’s screening of MMV’s open access Malaria Box.
The Malaria Box is an MMV initiative launched in late 2011 which provides researchers with a collection of 400 diverse compounds with antimalarial activity with the aim of catalyzing malaria and neglected disease drug discovery and research. All of the compounds have confirmed activity against the blood-stage of P. falciparum and are commercially available. All that is asked in return of Malaria Box users is for the resulting data to be published and placed in the public domain to help continue the cycle of research.
DNDi, in partnership with the University of Antwerp Laboratory for Microbiology, Parasitology and Hygiene, screened all the compounds in the Malaria Box against the parasites responsible for the three tropical diseases on which DNDi mainly focuses: human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), leishmaniasis, and Chagas disease.
The screen identified two potential drug series for the treatment of sleeping sickness and one for leishmaniasis and has yielded valuable information that will strengthen DNDi’s research pipeline. All the biological data from DNDi’s screen are now available and are among the first generated from the Malaria Box to be released into the public domain.
“This is a really great example of partnership in action,” said Dr David Reddy, MMV’s CEO. “MMV and DNDi already work synergistically to tackle tropical diseases. Now, through the Malaria Box we can freely explore molecules that could potentially work against several debilitating tropical diseases, for the benefit of vulnerable populations the world over. It’s hugely gratifying to see the idea of the Malaria Box starting to pay off.”
To date, more than 100 Malaria Boxes have been delivered to over 20 countries for research on diseases including malaria, neglected diseases, HIV and cancer.