[Ip-health] Press release sent on behalf of CRIMALDDI: Antimalarial drug discovery urgently needs prioritised 5-year plan to avoid missing opportunities

Jaya Banerji banerjij at mmv.org
Tue Oct 11 10:54:29 PDT 2011

Antimalarial drug discovery urgently needs prioritised 5-year plan to
avoid missing opportunities – EU-funded report recommends

London, 11 October 2011. With funding from European Union under Framework
Seven, a Consortium of 10 organisations, CRIMALDDI*, has developed an
integrated and prioritised 5-year Roadmap for antimalarial drug discovery.
This is to guide donors, policy makers, and researchers. The Roadmap will
be launched today, at the meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on
Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (APPMG) in Westminster. It will
help to design the European antimalarial research agenda for the next
decade as well as contribute to the setting of global priorities.

“Today, there are many opportunities and challenges to discovering the
drugs we need to achieve malaria control and elimination,” said Prof.
Steve Ward (Deputy Director, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine), who
led the CRIMALDDI Consortium, “but we run the risk of wasting much time
and effort if there is not more co-ordination and prioritisation of the
work being done. In a time of financial pressure on the main funding and
policy-making bodies, we must only put money behind the highest priority
challenges and focus on clear goals to make sure we maximise our chances
of having the right drugs in place when they are needed.”

Since 2007, the global malaria community has refocused its efforts from
the control of malaria to the ambitious goal of eliminating and ultimately
eradicating this devastating disease. Malaria still claimed about 780,000
deaths in 2009, mostly African children. The population at risk of malaria
(3.3 billion people in 109 countries) is among the world’s most

Recognising that safe, appropriate, and effective drugs will play a
critical role in malaria control, elimination, and ultimately eradication,
the CRIMALDDI Consortium began work in February 2009, to identify priority
work themes that would expedite new antimalarial drug discovery. Through a
series of facilitated workshops involving nearly 60 experts in the field,
they then developed action plans for each theme to guide detailed planning
and decision-making.

“We welcome the publication of this Roadmap,” said Dr Timothy Wells, Chief
Scientific Officer for Medicines for Malaria Venture. “CRIMALDDI has
brought together key stakeholders from the academic community, industry,
and disease endemic countries to identify the critical road blocks in R&D.
We’re pleased to see that there is a close fit between our strategy and
that mapped out by this group: countering the threat of resistance,
preventing transmission and relapse and aiming for a single dose cure.”

The CRIMALDDI Roadmap focuses on programmes that need to start now to be
effective. Some initiatives should deliver results in the next 5 years,
but others will require 10 or 15 years of hard work and sustained
financial support. The detailed and prioritised recommendations of the
CRIMALDDI roadmap are summarised under five key themes:

a. Accelerating the exploitation of publicly available high-throughput
screening results b. Attacking artemisinin resistance c. Creating and
sharing community resources d. Delivering enabling technologies
(especially to study P.vivax) e. Identifying novel drug targets.

Recommendations for activities within each theme reflect their importance
and the speed at which they could make an impact. They are listed in four
priorities: quick wins, responses to key roadblocks, speeding up drug
discovery and “nice to have”. (See www.crimalddi.eu for the complete
report and further details of the findings)

“CRIMALDDI has been distinguished by how the team and their collaborators
have identified the priorities and the necessary action plans in a logical
and structured way,” said Prof. Simon Croft (Professor of Parasitology,
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) who chaired the Expert
Advisory Group overseeing the work of the Consortium. “The proposals
will act as a valuable resource to funders and policy-makers in deciding
on where best to focus their resources over the next 5 years, thus
minimising waste of money and effort, and where best to engage the
research community.”

For further information please contact Prof Steve Ward by calling Angela
Travis, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Tel:  +44  (151) 705 2563
E-mail: Angela.travis at liverpool.ac.uk

* CRIMALDDI consists of the following organisations:
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special
Programme for Research & Training in Tropical Diseases, Medicines for
Malaria Venture, University of Heidelberg, University of Milan, Centre
National de la Recherché Scientifique (CNRS), Institut National de la
Santé et de la Recherché Médicale (INSERM), University of Buea, University
of Cape Town

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