MMV and Ferrer, one of Spain’s major pharmaceutical groups, have agreed to explore the Ferrer compound library for promising molecules that could be developed into novel medicines needed to defeat malaria.
Under this new agreement, scientists in institutes affiliated to MMV will test approximately 40,000 compounds in the Ferrer library, initially against Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes acute malaria, including multi-drug resistant strains, but also against P. vivax (relapsing malaria). The Spanish group, with operations in more than 90 countries, is keen to share resources and boost research against tropical diseases.
Researchers will use cutting-edge screening techniques to identify compounds that show initial activity against P. falciparum and could form the basis for novel drug discovery programs to treat malaria. The screening will be undertaken at the Eskitis Institute for Cell and Molecular Therapies at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia.
“To eradicate malaria the world needs new medicines that will not only treat and cure P. falciparum malaria, but also P. vivax malaria, a rarer form of the disease that is very difficult to cure. In addition, new drugs are needed to tackle emerging resistance, and stop parasite transmission from infected individuals. The Ferrer library might reveal exciting compounds that, once identified, could be developed into these novel medicines needed if we are to defeat malaria,” said Dr Tim Wells, Chief Scientific Officer, MMV.