Evotec teams up with malaria nonprofit in open R&D project

German contract researcher Evotec has signed a deal with Medicines for Malaria Venture, lending its expertise to the nonprofit's efforts to encourage neglected disease R&D around the world.

Under the agreement, Evotec will provide compound-management services to the organization, supporting its mission to encourage drug discovery for malaria and other ailments. Neither party is disclosing financial details.

MMV works to expand global R&D by shipping out free drug discovery kits to researchers around the globe. The nonprofit's banner product is called the Malaria Box, a collection 400 molecules found to be active against the disease. MMV has distributed more than 160 of the boxes to 27 countries, hoping to spark drug discovery programs the world over.

Now, thanks to a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the organization is prepping the Pathogen Box, a collection of 400 more potential drugs with potential to treat not only malaria but a host of other neglected diseases, MMV said, a product the group expects to launch by the end of next year.

And Evotec, with its experience maintaining chemical libraries and screening for drug targets, is on board to provide the infrastructure MMV needs to actualize its goals, the two said.

"Researchers are starved of access to promising molecules due to financial and technical barriers," MMV Chief Scientific Officer Tim Wells said in a statement. "MMV's Malaria and Pathogen Box initiatives aim to remove these barriers, and suppliers like Evotec are critical to their success. We look forward to jointly ensuring robust compounds enter the R&D process and the best ones are developed into effective new medicines for vulnerable populations."

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