Genzyme Corp, MMV announce new collaboration with Advinus Therapeuti

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Mumbai, Aug 27 (UNI) Genzyme Corp, a global leader in bio-technology, and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), a not-for-profit virtual research and development (R&D) organization dedicated to reducing the burden of malaria, have announced a new collaboration with Bangalore- based, Advinus Therapeutics Ltd.

The collaboration seeks to develop new, improved treatments for patients who are most at risk for malaria, an often-fatal infectious disease of developing countries, particularly affecting pregnant women and infants.

The ongoing MMV/Genzyme partnership also includes The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The team has begun to identify promising lead candidates, coming out of its innovative platform for high-throughput screening of several compound libraries. Among the kinds of compounds to be optimized, with the help of Advinus, are those active against key target enzymes that are essential for the survival of the malaria parasite.

''Malaria kills between one and two million people annually, with the majority of victims being children under the age of five and pregnant women,'' said Dr Chris Hentschel, president and chief executive officer of MMV, in a release here today.

''New anti-malarial agents are urgently needed to stop this unacceptable loss of life, with eradication as our long-term objective. The pipeline of new molecules that are effective against malaria must be made more robust so that we can develop the next generation of powerful treatments. MMV is excited to be working with innovative research organizations like Genzyme and Advinus to identify these very molecules,'' he added.

Dr Rashmi Barbhaiya, chief executive officer of Advinus, said ''This collaboration once again confirms the commitment of Advinus and the TATA Group to develop medicines for neglected diseases.

India today is one of the few countries in the world that has not only the disease burden, but also the capability to research and develop new therapies for these diseases. Advinus, in particular, with its extensive drug discovery and development expertise, is uniquely positioned to work with MMV and Genzyme to address this crucial public health problem.'' Advinus is a TATA-promoted life sciences research and development company with extensive expertise in pharmaceutical R&D. With the complementary skills and experience Advinus brings, the collaboration will focus on identifying new molecules effective at fighting malaria, from early-stage screening to the first steps of pre-clinical assessment. One important aim is to develop therapies to address the danger of emerging drug resistance that current anti-malarial treatments increasingly face.

UNI AR SSS NP1226

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