Open Synthesis Network

Visceral leishmaniasis | Started in 2015


Launched in 2015, the Open Synthesis Network (OSN) is a collaborative project that aims to engage master’s and undergraduate students in research for neglected diseases. Read the Press Release

Currently the OSN has 20 participating institutions around the world (see list below). Students are working on compounds that kill leishmania donovani and leishmania infantum, the parasites that cause VL. DNDi’s current objective for VL is to discover compounds more suited for oral administration, easier to use in the field, and with fewer side effects than existing treatments. Any successful compounds that come from the OSN project will be evaluated further as part of DNDi’s discovery pipeline.


This partnership will contribute to real-life medicinal chemistry projects featuring neglected disease research. By participating in the OSN project, our students will get an opportunity to enhance their skills in medicinal chemistry research and will develop an interest to work on real drug discovery projects.

Dr Kapil Juvale, Assistant Professor, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, India


How the Open Synthesis Network works

Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative will share data on existing compounds, from one of its active research projects, with university participants, along with a list of new, “wanted” chemical compounds. Students can then explore the existing data, understand the design rationale for the new compounds through open discussion with DNDi experts, and carry out the synthesis for one or more of these “wanted” compounds as part of their lab training. Students can use the data to design their own new compounds. DNDi will then test all new compounds for anti-parasitic activity, sharing the results openly with all OSN participants.


Intellectual property

All work generated by OSN will be published in the public domain in real-time and remain free of intellectual property.


How to get involved

The online nature of OSN readily allows DNDi to open this collaboration to any universities interested in participating. To get involved, please contact Ben Perry:


Press releases

3 May 2017
New open source project engages universities in neglected diseases drug discovery

30 May 2017
Optibrium, Imperial College and DNDi Collaborate in Drug Development Programme for Neglected Diseases



Augusta University, USA; De Montfort University, Leicester, UK; Haverford College, USA; Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA), Aurora, USA; Imperial College, London, UK; Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, India; Miami University, USA; Montclair State University, USA; Northeastern University, Boston, USA; Pace University, New York City, USA; Shobhaben Pratapbhai Patel School of Pharmacy & Technology Management at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), Mumbai, India;  Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil; University of Birmingham, UK; University of Dundee, UK; University of Geneva, Switzerland; University of Ghana, Ghana; University of Münster, Germany; University of Nottingham, UK; University of São Paolo, Brazil; University of Washington Tacoma, USA; Williams College, Massachusetts, USA.



OSN Factsheet 2018 Coverpage

Open Synthesis Network (OSN)



Last updated: August 2019