Collaboration on the Development of Anti-Parasitic Drugs for Both Malaria and Leishmaniasis

[ December 14, 2005 ] University of Mississippi , MMV, and DNDi Agree to Collaborate on the Development of Anti-Parasitic Drugs for Both Malaria and Leishmaniasis. International fight against tropical diseases strengthened by three-way collaboration between the University of Mississippi , MMV, and DNDi: a landmark collaboration is begun to further development of affordable drugs to fight disease in the world’s least developed countries.

Washington, DC: Announced today at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s 54 th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, Medicines for Malaria (MMV) and Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) have entered into a collaboration with the University of Mississippi (UM) to share information on 8-aminoquinolines, a class of compounds that may result in new anti-parasitic drugs for both malaria and leishmaniasis.

8-aminoquinolines are a class of compounds with considerable anti-parasitic activity, but their potential has been limited by human toxicity. A team of researchers from the University of Mississippi , Indiana University , and the University of Miami , have recently been able to develop NPC1161B, a new lead compound from the 8-aminoquinoline class. This compound is very effective against parasites for both malaria and leishmaniasis, and offers promise for reduced hematological toxicity in man.

MMV is currently working in collaboration with UM to further preclinical development of NPC1161B because of promising oral efficacy against P. vivax infection. As these molecules also show antileishmanial/trypanosomal activity, DNDi will provide financial support for any additional studies on the effectiveness of these drugs for the oral treatment of visceral leishmaniasis .

“This collaboration provides an excellent opportunity to bolster both parties’ efforts, achieve significant international benefits in their own fields of drug research, and facilitate operations and project management,” said Dr. Chris Hentschel, Chief Executive Officer of MMV.

Through a cooperative agreement, DNDi and MMV will share clinical information as well as significant scientific findings regarding the non-clinical safety data, metabolism, or other relevant findings. This agreement requires each party to share information so as to avoid any redundant efforts and unnecessary spending for the development of 8-aminoquinolines in the treatment of malaria and leishmaniasis.

“Both MMV and DNDi have a common interest in the sustainable development of affordable drugs to fight diseases of the poor in the world’s least developed countries. This partnership will avoid possible duplication of effort in a field where resources were rare and precious,” remarked Dr. Bernard Pecoul , Executive Director of DNDi.

“We have been extremely pleased in the past 3 years to work with MMV’s support and direction for the further development of NPC1161B. With the addition of DNDi to the partnership, we will be able to expand these efforts by exploiting the very potent activity of this new drug against leishmaniasis,” said Dr. Larry Walker , Director of the National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) at UM’s School of Pharmacy , where the team is based.

Located at the University of Mississippi , the NCNPR is the United States’ only university research center devoted to improving human health and agricultural productivity through the discovery, development and commercialization of pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals derived from plants, marine organisms and other natural products. The center has a strong focus on botanical research and has a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to conduct research on the quality and safety of botanical dietary supplements. For further information, please consult www.olemiss.edu/depts/pharmacy/ncnpr

Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) is a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the burden of malaria in disease-endemic countries by discovering, developing and delivering new affordable antimalarial drugs through effective public-private partnership. After five years of operation, MMV is managing the largest-ever portfolio of malaria drug research with more than 20 projects in different stages of drug research and development. MMV’s goal is to register at least one new antimalarial before 2010 and maintain a sustainable pipeline of antimalarials to meet the needs of the 2.4 billion people at risk of this deadly disease. For further information, please consult www.mmv.org

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) is an independent, not-for-profit drug development initiative that aims to develop new, improved, and field-relevant drugs for neglected diseases such as leishmaniasis, human African trypanosomiasis, Chagas disease, and malaria. DNDi’s partners include public sector research institutions from Brazil, Kenya, Malaysia, and India, MSF, Institut Pasteur, and the WHO’s Tropical Diseases Research program. With a current portfolio of 20 projects in various stages of drug research and development, DNDi also works to raise awareness about the need for greater R&D for neglected diseases and to strengthen existing research capacity in disease-endemic countries. For further information, please consult www.dndi.org