The GSK African Malaria Partnership last week announced four new grants totaling $2.5m to the Planned Parenthood Foundation of Nigeria (PPFN) projects in Nigeria.
Three other beneficiaries are: Save the Children – projects in Kenya; the -Â Family Health International – projects in Ghana and the Â African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF)-projects in Tanzania.
The Partnership established in 2001 is to help improve prevention and access to treatment of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.Â Since then over $3m has been invested to combat the disease.
This development came just as the company announced establishment of the first ever â€˜Open Labâ€™ to act as an engine room of scientific innovation for neglected tropical diseases.Â An initial seed investment of $8 million is to be released to help fund the research and facilitate better sharing of knowledge and ideas.
A statement issued to this effect said by creating capacity for up to 60 scientists from around the world to have access to the â€˜Open Labâ€™ – a GSK-owned and operated facility dedicated to the research and development of new medicines for diseases of the developing world, scientists will be encouraged to tap into the expertise, knowledge and infrastructure of the company, while pursuing their own projects as part of an integrated drug discovery team.
In addition, less than 13,500 malaria compounds are to be made freely available by the company to fight malaria parasite P.falciparum, the deadliest form of malaria, which is found primarily in sub-Saharan Africa.Â This exercise took five scientists a year to complete, and has yielded more than 13,500 compounds that could lead to the development of new and innovative treatments for malaria, which kills at least one million children every year in Africa.
GSK will make these findings, including the chemical structures and associated assay data, freely available to the public via leading scientific websites.
The release of these data will mark the first time that a pharmaceutical company has made public the structures of so many of its compounds in the hope that they could lead to new medicines for malaria.