Diverse compound collection harnesses open innovation to advance global health priorities
This World Mosquito Day, MMV and the Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC) launch the Global Health Priority Box to provide scientists with free access to a collection of compounds with confirmed activity against infectious and mosquito-borne diseases, and vectors of global concern.
The initiative aims to spark the discovery and development of new drugs and insecticides to prepare for current and future public health threats. The box provides scientists with confirmed starting points to further advance the development of tools to tackle two of several priorities set out by the WHO: drug resistance and communicable diseases.
The threat of resistance and vector-borne diseases
Vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, cause the loss of more than 700,000 lives annually, predominantly in regions with tropical climates in low-and-middle income countries. Recent studies show, however that climate change has the potential to shift the regions in which disease-carrying mosquitoes breed, introducing new pathogens to previously unaffected areas.1 This, coupled with the increasing prevalence of drug-resistant pathogens and insecticide resistance, requires the development of new tools.
The components of the box
The structurally diverse compound collection contains three sets of compounds in various stages of discovery and development:
- 80 compounds selected by MMV and partners, with confirmed activity against drug resistant malaria. These compounds can be used to seek new biological mechanisms of action or initiate drug discovery.
- 80 compounds selected from a compound library donated by Bristol-Myers Squibb for screening against neglected and zoonotic diseases, and diseases at risk of drug resistance.
- 80 compounds selected within input from disease experts at IVCC that have been tested for activity against various vector species. This plate can be used to screen and develop compounds for vector control and transmission-blocking medicines.
An open approach
The reaction of the scientific community to the coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated that international collaboration accelerates the development of new tools. The Global Health Priority Box harnesses an open approach, inviting scientists to make screening results publicly available and to publish findings in an open access journal within 2 years following data generation. This allows for researchers around the world to build on one another’s work, saving precious time and resources.
“Efforts to end infectious diseases will only succeed if we have the tools to treat and prevent them,” said Dr Timothy Wells, MMV’s Chief Scientific Officer. “Open innovation is one of the keys to unlocking drug discovery because it allows us to tap into existing knowledge and expertise and build on it collaboratively.”
Dr Nick Hamon, CEO of IVCC added, “Innovation in vector control is urgently needed because of the prevalence of insecticide resistance which is undermining the efficacy of bed nets and indoor residual sprays, the cornerstone of malaria prevention since the turn of the century. Open access to new chemistry will encourage greater collaboration across the scientific community, bringing new innovators into public health and potentially more rapid development of new vector control solutions.”
1. Colon-Gonzalez, Felipe J et al., Projecting the risk of mosquito-borne diseases in a warmer and more populated world: a multi-model, multi-scenario intercomparison modelling study, The Lancet (2021). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(21)00132-7.