The development of future medicines to support the eradication of malaria (SERCaP or SEC)* will require the combination of at least two active molecules. MMV has defined five Target Candidate Profiles (TCPs) for these molecules corresponding to the different clinical attributes needed for SERCaP or SEC).
To identify molecules that meet the TCPs for next-generation medicines to support malaria eradication, MMV’s drug discovery team works with its growing network of partners to screen compounds for activity against the various stages of the parasite lifecycle (MMV drug discovery engine).
To complement existing blood-stage assays, (which identify compounds to treat clinical malaria attacks), MMV and partners have developed new assays to screen for activity at other lifecycle stages. Notably, in 2014 and 2015, high-throughput assays of liver stages (to test for chemoprotection capability) and gametocyte stages (to test for transmission-blocking capability) as well as assays of Plasmodium vivax liver stages (to test for anti-relapse activity) were established.
Active compounds that meet the required criteria are then progressed to the ‘make–test’ cycle. Here they undergo rounds of synthesis and testing to determine whether they could become a drug candidate, suitable for further development.
Between 2010 and 2015, 17 drug candidates have been brought into preclinical development. Each one of these active candidates has the potential to form part of a next-generation medicine to support malaria eradication.
* SERCaP - Single Exposure Radical Cure and Prophylaxis / SEC - Single Exposure Chemoprotection