From the desk of CDD Vault’s early customer Professor James McKerrow

The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to three scientists who pioneered the search for drugs to treat neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Their efforts parallel and validate the commitment of CDD to provide computational searches and database management in support of research targeting these diseases of global health importance.

William C Campbell and Satoshi Omura shared one half of the 2015 Nobel Prize for their discovery and development of avermectin and its analog ivermectin. Ivermectin has played a major role in stopping the transmission of River Blindness in the New World and lymphatic filariasis throughout the tropical world. Youyou Tu was awarded the other half of the Nobel Prize for her discovery of artemisinin, the current drug of choice for malaria. The recognition of the work of these scientists by the Nobel Committee is validation to the efforts of CDD and their global partners in addressing the need for drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics to control, and perhaps someday eliminate, neglected tropical diseases. In fact CDD was launched in 2004 as a spinout of Eli Lilly with the Director of the Sandler Center for Basic Research in Parasitic Diseases at the University of California San Francisco as a key early customer foreshadowing our growth over the last decade for neglected and commercial drug discovery:

The commitment of CDD to supporting research on neglected tropical diseases has continued through efforts using computational approaches as a cost-effective shortcut to identify new drug candidates to treat diseases like those caused by Trypanosoma parasites. In addition CDD has provided database support at multiple sites to store screening results, animal model of disease data, and experimental protocols key to development of new drugs for neglected tropical diseases.

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) refer to a group of diseases which represent major global health problems. They affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide but are generally diseases of poor people in resource poor regions of the world. They are therefore considered “neglected” because of a relative lack of interest from the pharmaceutical industry for economic reasons. Despite the lack of an economic incentive, CDD remains committed to supporting research in this area because of its import to the health of people throughout the world.

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