AZ will open compound library to malaria researchers

The non-profit Medicines for Malaria Venture has just landed another Big Pharma backer. AstraZeneca says that it will open up the books on some 500,000 chemical compounds to help researchers track down new therapies to treat malaria--including some hard-to-treat strains of the disease.

"Our experience with infection research, and indeed with all of our R&D efforts, has taught us that we will only find solutions to today's global health challenges through collaborative efforts," AstraZeneca's Chief Executive Officer David Brennan said in a statement. "Opening up our compound library to MMV is an important step toward addressing the enormous unmet medical needs of the developing world."

Investigators will screen AZ's compound library to check and see which therapies can battle P. falciparum, the most dangerous of all malaria parasites. The most promising drug candidates will then be shipped to AZ's research unit in Bangalore to see which should enter clinical trials. MMV boasts of the largest portfolio of antimalarial R&D projects ever assembled, with "almost 60 antimalarial projects in partnership with over 130 pharmaceutical, academic, and endemic-country partners in 44 countries."

- here's the AstraZeneca release for more info