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AZ and MMV join forces against malaria

AstraZeneca (AZ) and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) are to collaborate to identify novel candidate drugs for the treatment of malaria

AstraZeneca (AZ) and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) are to collaborate to identify novel candidate drugs for the treatment of malaria. The companies have signed an agreement giving MMV access to AZ's compound library, from which MMV will seek to identify compounds with the potential to treat malaria, including drug resistant strains of the disease.

Scientists working with MMV will screen 500,000 compounds in AZ's library for activity against Plasmodium falciparum, the most lethal of malaria parasites. Professor Vicky Avery at the Eskitis Institute for Cell and Molecular Therapies at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, will conduct the screening for MMV. Promising compounds identified through this process will undergo a discovery cascade at AZ's R&D facility in Bangalore, India, with the aim of identifying suitable candidates for clinical testing.

David Brennan, AZ's CEO, said: "Our experience with infection research, and indeed with all of our R&D efforts, has taught us that we will only find solutions to today's global health challenges through collaborative efforts. Opening up our compound library to MMV is an important step towards addressing the enormous unmet medical needs of the developing world. AstraZeneca is committed to being part of the solution and we look forward to working with MMV and all those with a stake in global health."

Tim Wells, MMV's chief scientific officer, said: "AstraZeneca has had a longstanding interest in neglected disease, and we are delighted to be able to collaborate with the centre in Bangalore on this exciting project in malaria. The screening of their library will give us some new unique starting points. However, the additional advantage is the Indian perspective: India has millions of cases of malaria per year, and in addition has a balance between Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Understanding and eliminating Indian malaria is one of the keys to eliminating malaria worldwide."

28th June 2010

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