A prioritized research agenda to expedite the discovery of new anti-malarial drugs
The Coordination, Rationalization, and Integration of anti-MALarial drug Discovery & Development Initiatives (CRIMALDDI) Consortium has been a three-year project funded by the EU Framework Seven Programme. It aimed to develop a prioritized set of recommendations to speed up anti-malarial drug discovery research and contribute to the setting of the global research agenda. It has attempted to align thinking on the high priority issues and then to develop action plans and strategies to address these issues. Through a series of facilitated and interactive workshops, it has concluded that these priorities can be grouped under five key themes: attacking artemisinin resistance; creating and sharing community resources; delivering enabling technologies; exploiting high throughput screening hits quickly; and, identifying novel targets. Recommendations have been prioritized into one of four levels: quick wins; removing key roadblocks to future progress; speeding-up drug discovery; and, nice to have (but not essential). Use of this prioritization allows efforts and resources to be focused on the lines of work that will contribute most to expediting anti-malarial drug discovery. Estimates of the time and finances required to implement the recommendations have also been made, along with indications of when recommendations within each theme will make an impact. All of this has been collected into an indicative road map that, it is hoped, will guide decisions about the direction and focus of European anti-malarial drug discovery research and contribute to the setting of the global research agenda. Ian Boulton was the Project Leader for this initiative, responsible for facilitating the workshops as well as contributing to the development of the conclusions and recommendations.