AstraZeneca to collaborate with non-profit group on anti-malarial drugs

MMV to have access to pharma group's compound library.

AstraZeneca and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) have entered into a collaborative agreement to identify new candidate drugs for the treatment of malaria.

As per the terms of the agreement MMV is expected to initially have access to AstraZeneca's compound library. MMV is also expected to seek to identify compounds that can be used to treat malaria, including drug resistant strains of the disease.

Additionally, scientists working with MMV are expected to screen 500,000 compounds in AstraZeneca's library for activity against P falciparum.

Vicky Avery of the Eskitis Institute for Cell and Molecular Therapies at Griffith University in Brisbane will conduct the screening on behalf of MMV.

AstraZeneca and MMV said that the useful compounds identified through the screening process will be starting points for antimalarial drug projects.

The compounds will be progressed through a discovery cascade at AstraZeneca's R&D facility in Bangalore, India, with the aim of identifying suitable candidates for clinical testing.

David Brennan, CEO of AstraZeneca, said: "Opening up our compound library to MMV is an important step toward addressing the unmet medical needs of the developing world. AstraZeneca is committed to being part of the solution and we look forward to working with MMV."

Tim Wells, chief scientific officer of MMV, said: "We are delighted to be able to collaborate with the centre in Bangalore on this project in malaria. The screening of their library will give us some new starting points."