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NMIMR and International Collaborators receive B&MGF award

A team of scientists from the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), Department of Chemistry – University of Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in collaboration with their counterparts from University of Dundee and University of Cape Town have received $1,896,319.00 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF) to improve existing drug discovery capabilities in Ghana. The project will leverage on existing relationships and facilities to further develop human and infrastructure capacity for drug discovery in Ghana, towards the establishment of a drug discovery hub within the sub region. The initial focus will be on malaria but once established, the hub will be expanded to other disease, such as tuberculosis (TB) and COVID-19.  These efforts will leverage the interaction with Medicines for Malaria Ventures (MMV), training provided by the Wellcome Centre at University of Dundee and Holistic Drug Discovery and Development (H3D) Centre at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa, and Grand Challenges Africa Drug Discovery network.

 Drug discovery work in sub-Saharan Africa is limited. New drugs for Ghana and across sub-Saharan Africa are needed, particularly anti-infectives. Diseases such as malaria, leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis and tuberculosis (TB) have a huge impact in Ghana, yet there is limited research into drug discovery for these diseases due to lack of human capital and adequate infrastructure.

 The overall vision (10-15 years) of the project is to establish a drug discovery capability within Ghana, capable of undertaking hit discovery, hits to lead and lead optimisation across a range of diseases relevant to Ghana and the West African region.

 The initial plan is to strengthen the network and the capabilities of the individual partners within a network of Universities across Ghana before expanding same across sub–Saharan Africa, particularly focusing on the West African region. We will develop enhanced capabilities in screening, medicinal chemistry and drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics through a focused project on malaria drug discovery using six chemical start points identified through phenotypic antimalarial screening.

  The project will:

 v  Build a screening cascade and drug discovery pathway for antimalarial drug discovery within Ghana.

 v  Validate and characterise in detail the hit series.

 v  Initiate hits to lead chemistry on at least 2 series.

 v  Drive one series to an early lead.

 v  Consolidate and further develop current capabilities in antimalarial screening and medicinal chemistry.

  v Develop capabilities in in vitro drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics.

 v  Train scientists within Ghana to undertake drug discovery.

Principal Investigator: 

 Prof Dorothy Yeboah-Manu (Bacteriologist)   Department of Bacteriology  Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research   College of Health Sciences   University of Ghana

 Prof Dorothy Yeboah-Manu (Bacteriologist)

  •  Department of Bacteriology
  • Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research
  •  College of Health Sciences
  •  University of Ghana

 Co-Principal Investigator: 

Dr. Richard Amewu, (Organic/Medicinal Chemist)

  •  Department of Chemistry
  •  College of Basic and Applied Sciences
  •  University of Ghana

 Co-Principal Investigator: 

Dr. Linda Eva Amoah, (Parasite Biologist)

  •  Immunology Department
  • Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research
  •  College of Health Sciences
  •  University of Ghana

 Co-Principal Investigator: 

Dr. Arnold Fokuo Donkor, (Pharmacologist)

  • Department of Pharmacology
  • Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana
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