Header Project CM1

Antimalarial Drug Discovery

The Drug Discovery group incorporates chemogenomic strategies to identify potential drug targets, analyze both target-based and non-target-based mechanisms of drug resistance, and advance antimalarial compounds through the drug development pipeline through collaborations including the MalDA (Malaria Drug Accelerator) consortium. MalDA is a scientific consortium funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) for malarial drug target identification and drug development. Leveraging the expertise of various groups and collaborating to promote and accelerate drug development, researchers can inform one another during the various stages of preclinical drug development and research. One fundamental strategy is the use of pharmacogenomics, where drug pressure is applied to parasites in vitro to identify resistant organisms. These resistant parasites are then sequenced to identify mutations that may cause or contribute to survival under drug pressure. Laboratory validation studies are conducted using gene editing strategies to assess whether the identified mutations are either necessary or sufficient for the drug resistance phenotype. Follow up investigation of these identified loci is carried out to better understand if they are drug targets or how they may be related to a mechanism of resistance or survival. If these loci are identified as effective, the corresponding drug proceeds to the development process for further investigation as a possible antimalarial agent.