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European ScreeningPort GmbH. (4/2/14). "Press Release: European ScreeningPort GmbH in €7.8M Consortium Tackling Neglected Parasitic Diseases". Hamburg.

Region Region EU (European Union)
Organisations Organisation European ScreeningPort GmbH
  Today Fraunhofer-Institut für Molekularbiologie und Angewandte Ökologie IME ScreeningPort (IME SP)
  Group Fraunhofer (Group)
  Organisation 2 PDE4NPD project (EU FP7, PhosphoDiEsterase inhibitors for Neglected Parasitic Diseases)
Products Product PDE inhibitor
  Product 2 drug discovery
Person Person Grättinger, Mira (European ScreeningPort 201011 Vice President before NascaCell Technologies)
     


Five academic institutions, two governmental institutes and two leading SMEs from Europe, Africa and Latin America are joining forces to develop novel drugs against parasites. The 4-year EU-funded project led by VU University Amsterdam is called PDE4NPD: PhosphoDiEsterase inhibitors for Neglected Parasitic Diseases.


Neglected parasitic diseases (NPDs) form an enormous obstacle to the development of communities across the world. The diseases are classified 'neglected' as investments in finding cures for these illnesses are extremely low, especially when considering their devastating impact on human and veterinary health. The NPDs addressed in this project - Chagas' disease, human African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis and schistosomiasis - collectively result in 6.6 million disability-adjusted life years.

During the last 30 years, only 9 new drugs targeting these NPDs have come to market. Some of these treatments cause severe side effects, while others are very expensive or are threatened by drug resistance. A cause for this standstill is the lack of sufficient financial incentive, due to the low return on investment perspective for the pharmaceutical industry. A paradigm shift in policy and a substantial joint effort to address this drug discovery gap is urgently required.


Drug discovery platform

The PDE4NPD project enables public and private partners to join forces within the EU Seventh Framework program to tackle these healthcare needs. The consortium consists of VU University Amsterdam (NL), University of Glasgow (UK), University of Kent (UK), University of Antwerp (BE), The Spanish National Research Council (ES), Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (BR), Theodor Bilharz Research Institute (EG), European ScreeningPort (DE), IOTA Pharmaceuticals (UK) and Top Institute Pharma (NL) and combines various drug discovery approaches into one platform that is dedicated to developing drugs against parasite PDEs: a family of well-characterized enzymes.

"Previous studies have shown that PDEs are highly druggable and that targeting parasite PDEs is a viable strategy to combat these diseases", states principal investigator Rob Leurs of VU University, as well-known drugs such as Viagra® and Daxas® effectively target illnesses caused by human PDEs. He continues: "This consortium has all the expertise to develop parasite-specific PDE inhibitors with high clinical potential. We will use state-of-the-art structural biology and screening technologies for finding new molecules with drug-like properties."

In parallel, the consortium parasitology research groups will perform phenotypic screening on various parasite species to identify agents that will kill them. The consortium will further develop compounds demonstrating anti-parasitic activity through PDEs as the key drug target. Leurs: "Ultimately, PDE4NPD will develop into a generic platform in which any parasite PDE can be enrolled. The integrative approach allows the accumulation of fundamental knowledge with an efficiency that is typical for approaches that focus on a single cellular target."


Role of European ScreeningPort GmbH

Our overall strategy is to establish a hit finding platform that will use the recently emerging molecular understanding to establish, improve and optimise parasite PDE drug discovery pipelines for a variety of parasitic diseases. The European ScreeningPort GmbH (ESP) will develop a panel of PDE assays for their subsequent use in high throughput screens against various small molecule libraries held by ESP. In addition, ESP is work-package leader for the development of in vitro ADME-Tox assays that will be established using industry standard formats, to select the best compounds for further progression.


Additional information

For more information on PDE4NPD, please contact TI Pharma communications manager Hiliana Fienieg. For more information on the role of European ScreeningPort GmbH, please contact Dr. Mira Grättinger.

   
Record changed: 2017-04-02

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