MMV partner Prof. Luiz Carlos Dias receives Santander University Award

Recognition of project in collaboration with MMV and DNDi to optimize new compounds for parasitic diseases

13 Nov 2014

On the 5 November 2014, Prof. Luiz Carlos Dias, State University of Campinas (Unicamp), São Paulo, Brazil, received the 2014 Santander University Award for Science and Innovation in Health. The award was in recognition of his work on the project ‘Optimization of lead compounds for the treatment of tropical parasitic diseases’ in collaboration with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV).

Out of 20,106 applications for the 2014 Santander University Awards, just 20 projects were selected with each recipient receiving an award of BRL 100,000. Prof. Dias’ prize will be reinvested into his neglected disease projects.

Prof. Dias’ collaboration with MMV and DNDi is unprecedented in Brazil and will help to advance drug discovery of poverty-related diseases endemic to the country. A key element of the project is to exploit published active compounds, including those from the MMV Open Access Malaria Box, as starting points to discover a compound that could ultimately be used for the prevention and treatment of malaria.

In the same week Prof. Dias was also honored with a prestigious award from the Brazilian Chemical Society for his work in the field of organic chemistry. He has been selected for the Simão Mathias Medal – one of Brazil’s highest honors in the field of chemistry. The medal will awarded in São Paulo in May 2015 when Prof. Dias presents the opening plenary lecture of the annual conference of the Brazilian Chemical Society.

“The goal of this partnership with MMV and DNDi is to contribute to saving lives,” said Prof. Luiz Carlos Dias. “This recognition is a huge honor for me and the project team. Now, when I talk to my daughters about my work and the partnerships involved they understand how it all ties together. But beyond that, the awards give wider visibility to the work, which will help us to get more funding to ultimately make the life-saving contribution we are working towards.”

“This double commendation with two prestigious awards is incredibly well deserved,” said Dr Jeremy Burrows, Head of Drug Discovery at MMV. “Luiz is an experienced chemist, but more than that he is passionate and really pioneering new drug discovery research in his country, for his country.”

“We are delighted with Luiz’s success”, said Dr Paul Willis, Director Drug Discovery, and Project Director for the collaboration with MMV. “It brings important visibility to a key area and recognizes the vital contribution of Brazilian science in the fight against malaria and other neglected diseases.”

The Santander University Awards are sponsored by Banco Santander with the aim to support the university community in Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Uruguay.