Lead discovery for drugs for infectious tropical diseases: Business Plan 2008-2013
In recent years there has been an expansion of product development activities for tropical diseases through a number of new public-private partnerships (PPPs) for malaria, tuberculosis and certain neglected tropical diseases. However, there is a dearth of credible drug leads to feed the development pipeline of these PPPs and there is an urgent need for a vibrant drug discovery initiative to produce such leads. Furthermore, for helminth diseases there is currently no PPP for product development, and for the helminthiases there is a need to go beyond lead discovery and identify drug candidates that can be further developed by partners or within TDR. Pharmaceutical and animal health companies often have relevant compounds that have not been assessed for their potential to treat tropical diseases. Experience shows that companies are willing to avail their compounds for testing but are unsure about an appropriate mechanism in view of the risk of exposing their intellectual property to competitors. TDR has played a pioneering role in establishing win-win agreements with industry in which they partner and contribute compounds for evaluation through the TDR coordinated network of compound assessment centres. Availability of parasite genome sequences also present opportunity for de novo discovery of new chemical entities.