Communities of practice
Drug giant will allow screening of its library of compounds to seek potential treatments for neglected diseases
26 Nov 2009
Source: Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (see original article)
The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) has announced an agreement with drug giant Pfizer that will allow it access to the Pfizer library of novel chemical entities, in order to screen it for compounds that could be developed into new treatments for three of the most neglected infectious diseases of poverty: human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and Chagas disease.
Pfizer vice president Dr Manos Perros said, “We are expanding our commitment to the fight against tropical diseases by joining forces with DNDi by sharing our collection of chemical compounds and the knowledge and expertise associated with these chemical entities”. His colleague Dr Sam Azoulay said, “We are confident that the significant resources and expertise that public-private partnerships such as this one bring together, will accelerate and significantly increase the chances of success in the search for effective new drugs against serious infections that disproportionately affect the poor”.
Under the agreement, scientists in institutes affiliated with DNDi will test at least 150,000 compounds in the Pfizer library against Trypanosoma brucei, Leishmania donovani and Trypanosoma cruzi, the kinetoplastid parasites that cause HAT, VL and Chagas disease, respectively. The researchers will seek compounds that show initial activity against the parasites, and thus might form the basis for novel drug discovery programmes to treat the diseases. The screening will be undertaken at the Eskitis Institute for Cell and Molecular Therapies, Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia (for HAT) and the Institut Pasteur Korea (VL and Chagas disease).
“This agreement provides us access to a compound library of novel chemical entities that has never been explored for kinetoplastid diseases. This marks an important step towards DNDi’s objective of building a robust portfolio and to feed the research and development pipeline with new promising compounds,” said Dr Shing Chang, R&D director at DNDi. In July this year, DNDi announced a similar agreement with Merck – see press release.
Within the same week as the finalising of its agreement with Pfizer, DNDi also announced it is to receive $15 million of Gates Foundation funding over the next five years, which it will use for the development of fexinidazole, currently the only new drug candidate in clinical development for sleeping sickness – see press release. Further information about DNDi is available here.
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