• Target disease: Leishmaniasis
  • Main partners (since project start): AbbVie, USA; Astellas Pharma, Japan; AstraZeneca, Sweden; Bayer Healthcare, Germany; BioAscent, UK; Bristol-Myers Squibb, USA; Broad Institute, M.I.T and Harvard, USA; Celgene Corporation, USA; Centro Nacional de Pesquisa em Energia e Materiais (CNPEM), Brazilian Biosciences National Laboratory (LNBio), Brazil; Daiichi Sankyo, Japan; Daiichi Sankyo RD Novare, Japan; Drug Discovery Unit, University of Dundee, UK; DuPont (formerly E.I du Pont Nemours), USA; Eisai Co., Ltd., Japan; Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD), Griffith University, Australia; GlaxoSmithKline, Spain; Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK), South Korea; Institute of Microbial Chemistry, Japan; Johnson & Johnson, USA; IS Global, Centre de Recerca en Salut Internacional de Barcelona (CRESIB), Spain; Kitasato Institute for Life Sciences, Japan; Laboratory of Microbiology, Parasitology, and Hygiene (LMPH), University of Antwerp, Belgium; London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK; Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), Switzerland; Merck, USA; Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation, Japan; Northwick Park Institute for Medical Research, UK; Pfizer Ldt. (formerly Anacor Pharmaceuticals), USA; Sanofi, France; Boehringer Ingelheim, Animal Health Business Unit (formerly Sanofi Merial), USA; Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, WHO-TDR, Switzerland; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd., Japan; TB Alliance, USA; The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Switzerland; Shionogi & Co., Ltd., Japan; Sequella, Inc., USA; University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa; Walter Reed Army Institute, USA; Zoetis (formerly Pfizer Animal Health), USA.
  • Funding (since project start): Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USA; Department for International Development (DFID), UK; Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS), The Netherlands; Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF through KfW), Germany; German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) on behalf of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, Germany; Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund, Japan; Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders, International; Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, France; Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), Spain; Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Switzerland.


Overall objective:

  • Deliver a robust portfolio of drug discovery hit and lead series for leishmaniasis


DNDi is searching for chemical compounds with activity against Leishmania parasites. High-throughput screening of diverse compound libraries from pharmaceutical companies, biotechs, and commercial vendors have been completed against Leishmania donovani, in collaboration with screening partners University of Dundee and Institut Pasteur Korea. 

Several visceral leishmaniasis active series were identified from GlaxoSmith-Kline’s global compound library screen and progressed through a hit-to-lead programme by DNDi in 2014 in collaboration with the University of Dundee. Furthermore, a screening collaboration agreement with the university signed in December 2014 aims to screen approximately 500,000 compounds against visceral leishmaniasis.


Several new starting points are currently being followed up in hit profiling, annotation, and hit-to-lead programmes. The screening effort will continue, with the aim of delivering further drug candidates to mitigate the risks of attrition and increase the chance of developing a new drug.

More than 20 novel series were identified in 2017 and are now being progressed.


NTD Drug Discovery Booster

In parallel to its ongoing bilateral collaborations for screening and lead optimization, in 2015 DNDi launched the NTD Drug Discovery Booster with several major pharmaceutical companies. More information


Last update: August 2019