First U.S.-based biopharmaceutical partner to join global consortium to accelerate discovery of new treatments for neglected diseases.
The biopharmaceutical company Celgene has become the fifth company to join the “Neglected Tropical Diseases Drug Discovery Booster” consortium, a new initiative to accelerate and cut the cost of early stage drug discovery for two of the world’s most neglected diseases, leishmaniasis and Chagas disease.
The Drug Discovery Booster was launched one year ago by the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) with the participation of three Japanese companies and one from the United Kingdom: Eisai Co Ltd, Shionogi & Co Ltd, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, and AstraZeneca plc. The Booster circumvents early stage commercial barriers between pharmaceutical participants, allowing DNDi to search millions of unique compounds simultaneously in the hunt for new treatment leads.
“We welcome Celgene into the Drug Discovery Booster, which increases the chance of discovering desperately-needed new treatments for these two diseases by adding another compound collection to the Booster project,” said Dr Charles Mowbray, Head of Drug Discovery at DNDi. “In its one year of operation, the Booster has already launched seven screening projects, which have all identified improved anti-parasitic compounds – proving that our concept delivers as we had hoped.”
This agreement builds on Celgene and DNDi’s long-standing collaboration to mine Celgene’s compound library for a range of neglected tropical diseases. In September 2014, DNDi and Celgene Global Health, a division of Celgene Corporation, signed a four-year collaboration agreement to identify and optimize new drug candidates for the most neglected diseases, including, among others, leishmaniasis, sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, river blindness, and elephantiasis.
Celgene was founded on the belief that patients should have the opportunity, regardless of their location or financial resources, to benefit from advances in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Celgene Global Health was created in 2009 to partner with like-minded institutions to specifically extend this commitment to diseases of the developing world.
Traditionally, early stage drug discovery has been an expensive and time-consuming process. The Drug Discovery Booster uses a multilateral, simultaneous search process across participating companies, allowing DNDi to access compounds generated over many decades of research.
“Each project has already saved tens of thousands of dollars in compound synthesis costs, and has sped up the drug discovery process by two or three times,” added Dr Mowbray.
The Booster project has made excellent and exciting progress in the first twelve months of activities and is on track to deliver new series into DNDi’s lead optimization portfolio in 2016 and 2017. Initial results from the project will be published soon.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery