Antimalarial drug discovery urgently needs prioritised 5-year plan to avoid missing opportunities

EU-funded report recommends

11 Oct 2011

With funding from European Union under Framework Seven, a Consortium of 10 organisations, CRIMALDDI*, has developed an integrated and prioritised 5-year Roadmap for antimalarial drug discovery. This is to guide donors, policy makers, and researchers. The Roadmap will be launched today, at the meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (APPMG) in Westminster. It will help to design the European antimalarial research agenda for the next decade as well as contribute to the setting of global priorities.

“Today, there are many opportunities and challenges to discovering the drugs we need to achieve malaria control and elimination,” said Prof. Steve Ward (Deputy Director, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine), who led the CRIMALDDI Consortium, “but we run the risk of wasting much time and effort if there is not more co-ordination and prioritisation of the work being done. In a time of financial pressure on the main funding and policy-making bodies, we must only put money behind the highest priority challenges and focus on clear goals to make sure we maximise our chances of having the right drugs in place when they are needed.”

Since 2007, the global malaria community has refocused its efforts from the control of malaria to the ambitious goal of eliminating and ultimately eradicating this devastating disease. Malaria still claimed about 780,000 deaths in 2009, mostly African children. The population at risk of malaria (3.3 billion people in 109 countries) is among the world’s most vulnerable. Recognising that safe, appropriate, and effective drugs will play a critical role in malaria control, elimination, and ultimately eradication, the CRIMALDDI Consortium began work in February 2009, to identify priority work themes that would expedite new antimalarial drug discovery. Through a series of facilitated workshops involving nearly 60 experts in the field, they then developed action plans for each theme to guide detailed planning and decisionmaking.

“We welcome the publication of this Roadmap,” said Dr Timothy Wells, Chief Scientific Officer for Medicines for Malaria Venture. “CRIMALDDI has brought together key stakeholders from the academic community, industry, and disease endemic countries to identify the critical road blocks in R&D. We’re pleased to see that there is a close fit between our strategy and that mapped out by this group: countering the threat of resistance, preventing transmission and relapse and aiming for a single dose cure.”

Read the on the CRIMALDDI website.


* CRIMALDDI consists of the following organisations:
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research & Training in Tropical Diseases, Medicines for Malaria Venture, University of Heidelberg, University of Milan, Centre National de la Recherché Scientifique (CNRS), Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherché Médicale (INSERM), University of Buea, University of Cape Town