A·WOL and the recently established High Throughput Screening (HTS) Centre of AstraZeneca have started a collaborative project aiming to find new medicines to treat river blindness and lymphatic filariasis. The project is a direct result of both organisations’ commitment to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
This is the first project as part of AstraZeneca’s agreement with WIPO to provide open access to its HTS facilities and compound collection. It marks a paradigm shift in the way knowledge is being shared. For the first time AstraZeneca is not only making its full diversity screening collection available but also opening up its labs for researchers.
The project will be screening compounds to determine if they are effective in killing Wolbachia – a bacterium that lives inside the parasitic worms that cause both river blindness and lymphatic filariasis. A·WOL are funded to carry out this work via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The vast majority of NTD academic institutions do not have access to diversity collections of this scale for their research. As a result, partnerships of this kind – between pharmaceutical companies and academic groups – are an essential component of translational research for NTDs.
The new HTS Centre in the UK has access to leading automation and screening technology with a capacity for up to 50 HTS per year. Combining this with a carefully curated chemical library of 1.8 million drug-like and lead-like compounds creates a leading infrastructure for hit discovery.