Research and development

Research and development

Research and development

MMV’s R&D team is responsible for the full spectrum of drug discovery and development. This begins with screening and the discovery of new molecules, all the way through pre-clinical studies, clinical testing in the field, to post-approval and implementation studies. Focus areas include tailoring antimalarials to key populations like children and pregnant women, combatting drug resistance and technology and innovation. Here is an overview of how we work.  

Discovery and development 

Discovery and development teams work closely with partners in malaria-endemic countries and around the world to ensure medicines are tailored to the unique needs of those who need them, including pregnant women and children in malaria-endemic regions.   

In discovery, we work to identify and optimize the most promising compounds to advance through to development. We prioritize compounds that are novel (and able to combat drug resistance), compounds that kill the parasite quickly (for treatment), and compounds that can protect against malaria for as long as possible (for prevention). Open innovation is at the core of MMV’s discovery activities. 

In development, we work closely with global and local partners to co-create drug development strategies and deliver a portfolio of antimalarial projects, from pre-clinical through to registration.  

Medicines for key populations and drug resistance 

Pregnant women and children are malaria’s most frequent victims.1 MMV develops formulations specifically tailored to the needs of children and applies a gender-transformative approach to its drug development activities. This approach aims to eliminate gender-bias in clinical outcomes and raise the standard of care for pregnant women and their newborns (read MMV’s Malaria in Mothers and Babies strategy to find out more).  

In addition to addressing the current gap in antimalarials for pregnant women and young children, MMV prioritizes medicines with the potential to tackle drug resistance, a persistent threat to malaria eradication efforts. Read our views on how to combat antimalarial drug resistance and learn more about our approach

Technology and innovation 

MMV maintains an internal team of multi-disciplinary experts who work across the pipeline to deliver valuable know-how to project teams in the areas of data management; pharmacometrics; drug metabolism; pharmaceutical development; non-clinical toxicology and pharmacology; regulatory strategy; quality compliance and clinical operations.   

An active portfolio of global technology platforms and tools contribute to the acceleration and innovation of discovery and development projects. These include an open-source drug discovery programme, an innovative pharmacokinetic and dose prediction tool, a drug development catalyst to promote collaboration with industry partners and assess molecules through a unified lens, among others.    

In discovery, open innovation is central to our activities. Through MMVOpen, we provide open research platforms and share diverse compound collections with the global scientific community. Since the initiative began in 2010, over five-hundred different sets of compounds have been distributed and around two hundred academic articles have been published. MMV also provides drug optimization advice to anyone who findsgroups wishing to follow up a novel biological activity seen with these compounds.  

Partnerships are critical to the way we work, and therefore MMV creates and maintains extensive networks of experts and partner organizations helping us to continually identify innovative ways to speed up the R&D process and bring forward quality medicines. Read more about our partner network.  

1. WHO World Malaria Report 2022