MMV awards seven endemic-region scientists Challenge Grants to ‘exploit the Pathogen Box’

MMV awards seven endemic-region scientists Challenge Grants to ‘exploit the Pathogen Box’

As part of its ongoing efforts to support the scientists of tomorrow to reach their potential, MMV has awarded seven Challenge Grants to endemic-region researchers to exploit the rich drug discovery resource of the Pathogen Box.

Each of the grant recipients together with an additional four runners up were also invited to attend a 2-day drug discovery workshop focused on ‘How to progress small molecule hits from screening efforts’ on the 19th and 21st of July organised by MMV, H3D Drug Discovery Centre, Cape Town, and the South African Medical Research Council at The International Conference on Pure and Applied Chemistry 2016 in Mauritius. Each of the grant recipients had the opportunity to present their plans and solicit feedback from experts.

Modelled on MMV’s award winning Open Access Malaria Box and with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Pathogen Box was launched at the end of 2015. It contains 400 diverse, drug-like molecules active against diseases, such as Chagas disease, malaria, human African trypanosomiasis, tuberculosis and schistosomiasis. Upon request, researchers around the world receive a Pathogen Box free of charge. In return, they are asked to publish any data generated, thus creating an open and collaborative forum for neglected diseases drug research.

In August 2015, MMV received funding from the Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) for a project entitled ‘Exploiting the Pathogen Box’. In part thanks to this funding, MMV was able to follow-up the launch of the Pathogen Box with the call for proposals to help endemic-region scientists unlock the potential of the box.

“Open access initiatives like these together with accompanying grants are about training the future leaders of drug discovery in disease-endemic countries,” said Dr Timothy Wells, MMV’s Chief Scientific Officer. “These initiatives create ideal training projects. Through them and our efforts to bring researchers together (like the workshop) and forge global collaborations, we hope to also help spark new ideas and much-needed research within the drug R&D community."


  • Fabrice Boyom, University of Yaoundé 1, Cameroon 

  • Fidelis Cho-Ngw, University of Buea, Cameroon 

  • Floriano Paes, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil 

  • Solomon Abay, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia 

  • Francis Mulaa, University of Nairobi, Kenya 

  • Claudia Machicado, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Peru 

  • Carolina Moraes, Brazilian Biosciences National Laboratory, Brazil