MMV Project of the Year award 2014 - DDD498

One molecule: multiple lifecycle stages

Target indication: Part of a combination treatment for acute uncomplicated malaria

Key features:

  • Potential for a single-exposure treatment in combination with a partner drug
  • Novel mechanism of action - inhibiting the parasite elongation factor (EF2)1
  • Comparable activity across multiple stages of the malaria parasite lifecycle including inhibition of development of all liver stages (important for chemoprevention) and outstanding transmission-blocking potential

Discovery Project Leaders: Prof. Ian Gilbert and Dr Kevin Read, Drug Discovery Unit, University of Dundee, UK

MMV Project Director: Dr Paul Willis

This molecule has caused a stir among researchers the world over. DDD498 has potent activity against multiple stages of the malaria parasite’s lifecycle, giving it the potential to cure and stop the spread of the disease as well as protect people, all in a single-exposure.

The compound was identified in partnership with the University of Dundee’s DDU, and draws on expertise from MMV’s global network of scientists. Working in a completely different way to other antimalarial medicines,1 it targets and inhibits part of the machinery that synthesizes proteins within the parasite. Unable to make proteins, the parasite cannot survive.

In recognition of the molecule’s promise and the dedication of the team at the Dundee DDU, the project has been named MMV Project of the Year 2014. Project Leaders Prof. Ian Gilbert, Head of Chemistry (seated, 3rd from the right), and Dr Kevin Read, Head of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics (seated, 3rd from the left), received the award at MMV’s Expert Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC) meeting in July 2015 in Tokyo, Japan.

→ Go to an interview, with Prof. Ian Gilbert & Dr Kevin Read. They explain how the discovery was made and their experience of working with MMV.

→ Go to an interview with MMV's Project Directors: Dr Paul Willis & Dr Lidiya Bebrevska

1. Baragaña B et al. “A novel, multiple stage antimalarial agent that inhibits protein synthesis.” Nature 522, 315–320 (2015).