The 35th National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium discusses Innovation and Collaboration
Highlights from day 4 of the conference
The theme of the final day’s talks was ‘Innovation through Collaboration’. Paul Willis kicked off the day by describing the work being undertaken by the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV; Meyrin, Switzerland), where he is the director of drug discovery. Currently the organisation is working on a number of open innovation projects focused on the discovery of new anti-malarials, in view of emerging resistance to the current front-line therapy. Another objective of the organization is to one day develop a chemopreventative drug to help wipe out the disease completely. Paul also touched on MMV’s commitment to open science, with malaria box and the recent launch of pathogen box, which is hoped to catalyse neglected disease drug discovery. MMV are currently in discussion with Matt Todd, an advocate of open science, to further exploit the opportunities associated with this research model.
To hear more about Paul’s work in the neglected diseases field, check out our recent video interview on MedChemNet.
Following Paul’s talk, Craig Lindsley, director of medicinal chemistry at Vanderbilt University (TN, USA), discussed the “mass exodus” of pharmaceutical industry from neuroscientific drug discovery, and the dire need for funding in this area. Craig discussed various collaborative research programs the university has recently been involved in, difficulties in crossing the infamous ‘valley of death’ and the challenges of dealing with funding gaps, which he admitted have in the past led to greater innovation.
Maria Alvim‐Gaston (Eli Lilly, IN, USA) then described the open innovation drug discovery program at Eli Lilly and the collaborative opportunities it brings to academic institutions who are looking to take their research to the next level.