The European Commission is funding a two year, €500,000 project to co-ordinate European and international research into the development of new drugs to treat malaria.
The CRIMALDDI project (Coordination, Rationalisation and Integration of Antimalarial Drug Discovery and Development Initiatives) is being led by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) and brings together key players in the antimalarial drug discovery fields including the World Health Organisation, the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) and leading research organisations across Europe.
Professor Steve Ward, Deputy Director of LSTM and Scientific Coordinator of the CRIMALDDI project explained: "New drugs to prevent, treat and eventually eliminate malaria are desperately needed if we are to make an impact upon the millions needlessly dying from this disease each year. Antimalarial drug research and development (R&D) programmes are in operation across Europe and throughout the world, but too often these initiatives are uncoordinated and time and money is spent going over old ground."
CRIMALDDI will address this by assessing research in Europe and internationally. It will develop a prioritised roadmap for antimalarial drug discovery efforts in Europe and a 5-year action plan to deliver on this roadmap. An expert advisory group will provide external validation and ensure that the plans are practical and appropriate. CRIMALDDI will also seek to formulate strategies to ensure better co-ordination of R&D, remove barriers to drug development and facilitate the dissemination of results.
Tim Wells, CSO for MMV said "CRIMALDDI is a timely initiative. It makes a great deal of sense to coordinate efforts globally so that researchers know exactly what is going on in this field and do not run the risk of duplicating efforts. With limited resources available for antimalarial drug R&D, time, funding and expertise are too precious to waste."
Commenting on the project, Professor Ward said: "Co-ordinating research will mean that resources are better directed towards the faster development of new drugs to treat and eliminate malaria. We will look at the global status of antimalarial drug discovery and use that information to ensure that the research agenda for antimalarials in Europe over the next decade is properly aligned with what's going on elsewhere in the world."