Anti-Malaria platform

Coordinator:    Dr. Birte Sönnichsen
Institution: Cenix BioScience GmbH
The current project is seeking to further develop an existing prototype platform for identification and validation of anti-malarial agents. The basis of this platform is a cell based high throughput microscopy infection assay for target or lead compound identification. In collaboration with Dr. Maria Mota (IMM, Portugal) Cenix has followed a novel interventional strategy of blocking the infection by targeting proteins expressed by the human host, required at the earliest stage of infection. RNA interference (RNAi) was used to identify proteins that are non-essential to the human host, but required for infection by the parasite. In a proof of concept study, this lead to the identification of the lipoprotein scavenger receptor ScarB1, for which small molecule inhibitors had already been identified. Cenix has confirmed that these compounds also bear strong anti-malarial activity. As such, this study has established the potential of this nascent platform.

The proposed project has been designed to improve the platform’s, using the present ScarB1 project as a program driver, as follows:

• Full-scale development of prototypic discovery platform:

• Establishment and refinement of pre-clinical development for existing and future leads

With the rising awareness that filling the drug development pipeline for tropical diseases has been vastly neglected for the past decades, and fostered through financial support by Private Public Partnership (PPP) organisations, the interest in new targets and lead compounds in these disease areas has increased considerably among the pharmaceutical companies. In the cooperation with the Mota lab, Cenix has built the foundation for a new approach in fighting Malaria, which in the current joint effort with known experts in the field, it will seek to further develop and built on. As a research service operation Cenix has established extensive relationships to pharma industry, and is as such well suited for the commercial exploitation of the results generated in this project through partnering and out-licensing of targets and lead compounds.

Further links:

Malaria Comic
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