MMV hosts international drug discovery meeting in Geneva

MMV hosts international drug discovery meeting in Geneva

From 19 to 20 October, MMV brought more than 70 drug discovery experts and funders together at the Fondation Jeantet in Geneva, to forge a unified strategy and vision for research to eradicate malaria.

Discussions were framed by the malaria eradication agenda laid out by the WHO’s Global Technical Strategy, The Malaria Eradication Research Agenda (MalERA), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Topics ranged from the ambitious global goals to defeat malaria, through access challenges, to early and late-stage discovery, providing discovery partners with a holistic view of the drug development process and allowing for ample exchange of ideas. The meeting was open to long-time partners as well as those newly introduced to the MMV network.

"The Discovery function (at MMV) has partners on every continent besides Antarctica. These partners are absolutely core to achieving our mission to identify potential new antimalarials. We couldn't do anything without them. This meeting will allow us to continue to strengthen those partnerships and move forward with a clear focus on supporting the malaria eradication agenda,” said Jeremy Burrows, Vice President, Head of Drug Discovery.

 “The value of a meeting like this is that everybody listens and talks to each other and has a sense of participation and contact. You have the opportunity to meet someone who is working, maybe 3 years away from you on a drug development line, and you can discuss the challenges together,” said Dr David P. Jacobus, head of Jacobus Pharmaceutical Company and pioneer in the field of antimalarial drug discovery.

Part of the University of Geneva, the Fondation Jeantet, was kindly offered as a venue for the meeting without charge. Experts from the Department of Parasitology at the University also contributed to the discussions. 

What participants said about the meeting:

“It is fantastic to get to interact face-to-face with people who you’ve only chatted with through email before. The program is comprehensive in terms of showing access challenges and how those then translate back into development and discovery. This clarifies the bigger picture, and provides guidance on what to focus on early in discovery in order to reach the desired outcome.”

- Dr Tanya Paquet, Research Officer, H3D, South Africa

“Bringing the community together and discussing common goals is a great thing to do.”

- Mr Michael Palmer, Medicinal Chemistry Consultant, UK

“It’s great to see the bigger picture and understand where we really want to go. It’s one thing to know the properties we need to move forward and it’s another to listen to Tim Wells and George Jagoe presenting the big overview of the Target Candidate Profiles so that we understand why we need those properties.”

- Dr Susann Krake, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Campinas, Brazil

“It’s great to see the bigger picture. Different people are working together towards a common goal and stakeholders from different areas of expertise are coming together as a group to forge a common vision.”

- Dr Lizette Koekemoer, Research Professor, Wits Research Institute for Malaria, South Africa