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MMV joins hands with AstraZeneca to eliminate malaria from India, worldwide

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 15:57 This news item was posted in Featured, health category and has 0 Comments so far.

Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) has joind hands with one of the world’s top drug maker AstraZeneca to develop medicines to eliminate malaria in India and worldover.

India reports millions of cases of malaria per year.Indian malaria also shows a balance between the two most commonly found types malaria caused by the bugs plasmodium falciparum and plasmodium vivax.

Therefore, understanding and eliminating Indian malaria is one of the keys to eliminating malaria worldwide, according to MMV.

Globally, malaria caused an estimated 863,000 deaths in 2008, mainly amongst vulnerable populations in the developing world.

Today’s malaria drugs require courses of treatment lasting days or even weeks and follow-up can be difficult in many malaria-endemic countries.

In some cases malaria has begun to develop resistance to existing drugs – a problem exacerbated, in part, by failure to complete courses of treatment.

MMV works to discover, develop and deliver new, effective and affordable anti-malarial drugs with simpler dosing regimens thereby encouraging patient compliance and helping reduce the risk of resistance developing. MMVs ultimate goal is to find a one-dose cure for malaria, an official release said.

The terms of the collaborative agreement reached between MMV and AstraZeneca, entered into a  agreement to identify novel candidate drugs for the treatment of malaria will initially allow MMV access to AstraZeneca’s extensive medicine compound library.

MMV will seek to identify promising compounds with the potential to treat malaria, including drug resistant strains of the disease, said David Brennan, CEO, AstraZeneca.

Scientists working with MMV will screen 500,000 compounds in AstraZeneca’s unique library for activity against P. falciparum, the most lethal of malaria parasites.

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

Promising compounds identified through the screening process will be starting points for antimalarial drug discovery projects.

These 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.

“Opening up our compound library to MMV is an important step toward addressing the enormous unmet medical needs of the developing world,” stated Mr Brennan.

AstraZeneca’s experience with infection research, and indeed with all of our R&D efforts, has taught the company that solutions to today’s global health challenges can be found only through collaborative efforts, he added.

AstraZeneca is committed to being part of the solution and looked forward to working with MMV and all those with a stake in global health.

The screening of AstraZeneca’s drug leads library will provide MMV some new unique starting points, hoped Tim Wells, chief scientific officer, MMV.

According to him, AstraZeneca has had a long standing interest in neglected disease, and MMV is delighted to be able to collaborate with the centre in Bangalore on this exciting project in malaria.

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