Creating an innovative collaboration model for global health drug discovery
In 2016, we joined with the Beijing Municipal Government and Tsinghua University to launch the Global Health Drug Discovery Institute (GHDDI), a nonprofit scientific research platform that focuses on drug discovery for infectious diseases that disproportionately affect low- and middle-income countries, including tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.
Low- and middle-income countries bear 90% of the global burden of infectious diseases, yet only 10% of global spending on drug research and development targets the major diseases that affect those countries. To address this glaring inequity, we joined with the Beijing Municipal Government and Tsinghua University to launch this innovative public-private partnership—the first of its kind in China.
GHDDI draws on China’s robust R&D strengths and talent pool to advance international cooperation, build a platform for drug discovery and translational medicine, improve China’s early-stage drug discovery ecosystem, and connect advanced research institutions and downstream clinical development agencies from around the globe. In addition to providing financial support, we have donated a ReFRAME (Repurposing, Focused Rescue, and Accelerated Medchem) compound library, provided strategic and scientific advice, and connected GHDDI with a global network of partners.
GHDDI has built multiple drug discovery platforms that cover structural biology, chemistry, lead compound identification, data science, pharmacokinetics, and animal testing. It is also home to the largest ReFRAME compound library in the world. With a collection of over 12,000 clinically safe compounds, the library serves as a high-throughput screening tool for early-stage drug and lead compound discovery, allowing drug candidates to reach clinical development much faster.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, GHDDI rapidly developed Targeting COVID-19, the world’s first one-stop research-sharing platform for COVID-19 drug discovery. To further empower researchers worldwide, it enabled open access to its artificial-intelligence-powered drug discovery platforms.
With our support, GHDDI works with world-class research organizations on more than a dozen R&D projects that target major diseases, including COVID-19, TB, and malaria. Among other breakthroughs, multiple experiments have shown that GDI-4405, a small-molecule drug candidate for COVID-19, can effectively inhibit the replication of the virus while being safe and bioavailable. In August 2022, GHDDI reached a licensing agreement with a Chinese company to accelerate the global development, manufacture, and commercialization of GDI-4405, thus providing more choices for the treatment of COVID-19.
GHDDI is also the first China-based institution to join the Tuberculosis Drug Accelerator program. Its research on small-molecule drug discovery for TB has progressed to lead optimization, and its malaria drug discovery program has progressed to the late-stage characterization of a lead molecule—the step before declaration of a preclinical candidate.
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