In a bid to catalyse malaria and neglected disease drug discovery, MMV and SCYNEXIS, Inc. have assembled a Malaria Box of 400 carefully selected commercially available compounds with antimalarial activity and will provide it to researchers at no cost.
All 400 compounds in the Malaria Box have confirmed activity against the blood-stage of P. falciparum - the most deadly of the malaria parasites - and were selected by experienced medicinal chemists from an extensive screening of around four million compounds from the chemical libraries of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline. The Malaria Box includes 200 drug-like compounds as starting points for oral drug discovery as well as 200 probe-like compounds representing the broadest cross-section of chemical diversity for use as biological tools.
"The discovery of novel molecules to feed the pipeline of antimalarial drugs remains a constant challenge," said Tim Wells, CSO of Medicines for Malaria Venture, "and all the more pressing in light of emerging resistance to current therapies. One of the rate-limiting factors for drug discovery is access to the actual active compounds with which to conduct research. With the Malaria Box concept, together with our partner SCYNEXIS, we hope to overcome this hurdle by carefully selecting and making available the most promising molecules to propel malaria drug discovery to the next level."
The scope of the Malaria Box goes beyond the malaria field as the compounds could also be used in research for drugs for other parasitic or neglected diseases. Making the compounds available to the entire neglected-disease community could lead to a better understanding of the similarities and differences between these diseases.
"SCYNEXIS is pleased to participate with MMV in the Malaria Box project as part of our on-going commitment to address the tremendous challenges presented by neglected diseases," said Yves Ribeill, President & CEO of SCYNEXIS, Inc. "SCYNEXIS stands ready to direct its proprietary technologies including its Integrated Parasitology Screening Platform and its HEOS® Collaborative Discovery Information Software Platform along with its highly experienced drug discovery teams to find innovative cures for these diseases."
The Malaria Box can be requested free-of-charge from MMV's website. All that is asked in return is that any data gleaned from research on the Box is published, shared and placed into the public domain to continue the virtuous cycle of research.