A compound discovered by a UCT drug discovery programme has been selected by MMV for its potent activity against multiple points in parasite's lifecycle. A recently discovered compound - named MMV390048 - from the aminopyridine class not only has the potential to become part of a single-dose cure for all strains of malaria, but might also be able to block transmission of the parasite from person to person, according to a research collaboration involving the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), based in Switzerland, and the Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3-D) at UCT. On the basis of initial results it was selected by MMV for further development - making it the first compound researched on African soil to enter preclinical development in partnership with MMV.
H3-D identified a molecule, code named MMV390048, which was selected in July 2012 by MMV's Expert Scientific Advisory Committee for further development. The promising new compound shows potent activity against multiple points in the malaria parasite's lifecycle. This means it not only has the potential to become part of a single-dose cure for malaria but might also be able to block transmission of the parasite from person to person.
The aminopyridine series was initially identified by Griffith University scientists in Australia as part of MMV's extensive malaria screening campaign of around 6 million compounds. A team of scientists from H3-D, led by UCT Professor Kelly Chibale, further scrutinised and explored the antimalarial potential of the series. With parasitological, pharmacological and contract chemistry support from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Switzerland), the Centre for Drug Candidate Optimization at Monash University (Australia) and Syngene (India) respectively, the H3-D team selected the most promising compounds from the series to be optimised and retested.