• Target disease: Leishmaniasis
  • Main partners (since project start): AbbVie, USA; Astellas Pharma, Japan; AstraZeneca, UK; Celgene Corporation, USA;  Eisai Co., Ltd., Japan; Merck KGaA, Germany; Shionogi & Co., Ltd., Japan; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd., Japan.
  • Project start: 2015
  • Funding (since project start): Department for International Development (DFID), UK; Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders; Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS), The Netherlands; Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF through KfW), Germany; Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund, Japan; Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Switzerland.


Overall Objective:

  • Speed up the process and cut the cost of finding new treatments for leishmaniasis by bringing together pharmaceutical companies in a multilateral, simultaneous, and non-competitive search process


The Drug Discovery Booster was launched in 2015 to circumvent early-stage commercial barriers between pharmaceutical participants, allowing DNDi to search millions of unique compounds simultaneously, using computational approaches to refine the search iteratively, in the hunt for new treatment leads.


In 2018, the Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharma Inc. became the eighth company to join the consortium

Screening continued at the rate of one new iteration per month.

To date, the Booster project has launched 45 iterations around 22 seed compounds, with the result that 13 hit series have been released, of which six have progressed to in vivo proof-of-concept studies for leishmaniasis and/or Chagas.

In 2017, two new companies – AbbVie and Merck – signed on to the Drug Discovery Booster, joining Takeda, Eisai, Shionogi, AstraZeneca, and Celgene.

To date, 32 iterations of the booster have been launched around 16 distinct seed compounds. Ten hit series have been identified, four of which will enter into proof-of-concept in vivo efficacy studies by Q1 2018.

Last update: August 2019