Launched in 2015, the Open Synthesis Network (OSN) is a collaborative project that aims to engage master’s and undergraduate students in research for neglected diseases.

Currently the OSN has 20 participating institutions around the world. Students are working on compounds that kill leishmania donovani and leishmania infantum, the parasites that cause visceral leishmaniasis. DNDi’s current objective for visceral leishmaniasis is to discover compounds more suited for oral administration, easier to use in the field, and with fewer side effects than existing treatments. Any successful compounds that come from the OSN project will be evaluated further as part of DNDi’s discovery pipeline.

Follow OSN on Twitter: @OpenSynth

‘This partnership will contribute to real-life medicinal chemistry projects featuring neglected disease research. By participating in the OSN project, our students will get an opportunity to enhance their skills in medicinal chemistry research and will develop an interest to work on real drug discovery projects.’

Dr Kapil Juvale, Assistant Professor, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, India

How the Open Synthesis Network works

Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative will share data on existing compounds, from one of its active research projects, with university participants, along with a list of new, “wanted” chemical compounds. Students can then explore the existing data, understand the design rationale for the new compounds through open discussion with DNDi experts, and carry out the synthesis for one or more of these “wanted” compounds as part of their lab training. Students can use the data to design their own new compounds. DNDi will then test all new compounds for anti-parasitic activity, sharing the results openly with all OSN participants.

Intellectual property

All work generated by OSN will be published in the public domain in real-time and remain free of intellectual property.

How to get involved

The online nature of OSN readily allows DNDi to open this collaboration to any universities interested in participating. To get involved, please contact Ben Perry:

Open synthesis network infographic explaining the what, the why and the how