• 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; 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:

  • Use high throughput screening to identify novel hit series for leishmaniasis from synthetic compound collections accessed from partners or acquired from commercial suppliers, and expand screening activities to natural products that are a promising source of novel active series


High-throughput screening (HTS) of core diversity libraries from several pharmaceutical companies (Sanofi, Takeda, Eisai, Merck, AbbVie) was completed against Leishmania donovani in 2014, in collaboration with screening partners (University of Dundee and Institut Pasteur Korea). Several new starting points are currently being followed up in hit profiling, annotation, and hit-to-lead programmes. A high-throughput screening assay which uses cidal axenic L. donovani was previously developed by the University of Dundee and is now part of DNDi’s routine VL screening cascade there, enabling the screening of very large collections (more than 50,000 compounds).

Several VL active series were identified from GlaxoSmith-Kline’s global compound library screen and progressed through a hit-to-lead programme by DNDi during 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 VL.


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.

Overall Objective: Identify promising new compounds for treatment of leishmaniasis and Chagas disease by using a multilateral, simultaneous search process across several global pharmaceutical companies. The booster allows DNDi to access millions of unique compounds, generated over many decades of research, to screen for potential treatments or cures for these diseases.

Partners (since project start): AbbVie, USA; Astellas Pharma, Japan; AstraZeneca, UK; Celgene Global Health, USA; Eisai Co., Ldt., Japan; Merck, USA; Shionogi & Co., Ldt., Japan; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd., Japan.


Last update: August 2018