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Implementing Compound Screening for NTD Drug Discovery

June 19, 2014

Eisai is forming Product Development Partnerships (PDPs) with various global Non-Profit Organizations specialized in drug development for malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in order to conduct compound screening for drug discovery activities.

Compound screening aims to identify potential drug seeds for target disease by screening candidate compounds from a vast compound “library”, and is usually conducted during the early stages of drug development. However, it cannot be initiated without using a specific assay system for efficacy evaluation, especially for NTDs and unusual infectious diseases. This is the reason why Eisai needs to partner with organizations which possess a special assay system or research network.

Regarding drug discovery for malaria, Eisai is collaborating with the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), which is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The catalyst for this partnership was Eisai's discovery of a drug target molecule for malaria parasites. Eisai is providing its own compounds for screening with the assay system which MMV possesses.

As for new drug development for Chagas disease and leishmaniasis, Eisai has established a PDP with the Drugs for Neglected Disease initiative (DNDi), which is also headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The partnership between DNDi and Eisai was initially established via another collaboration on the clinical stage project E1224 for Chagas disease (reference: http://www.eisai.com/company/atm/activities/01.html). Under this partnership, DNDi also coordinates the compound screening by utilizing its global network of research institutes which evaluate Eisai's candidate compounds.

Both partnerships entered a new stage in 2013. These compound screening programs were selected for support project financing awarded by the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund). This funding helps to maintain and improve the screening capability of all the networked research institutes involved in the programs. This allows Eisai to increase the number of compounds supplied which will improve the chances for both partnerships to find drug candidates to combat NTDs.

Below is the link to the GHIT Fund's screening support
https://www.ghitfund.org/about/mediacenter/pressdetail/detail/39/en

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