To identify new hit series that could be progressed and become new drug candidates for visceral leishmaniasis, DNDi tests chemical compounds for in vitro activity against L. donovani. Collections of natural and synthetic compounds are typically accessed through partners and commercial suppliers, and high-throughput screening is conducted in collaboration with University of Dundee and Institut Pasteur Korea. 

In 2015, to complement bilateral collaborations for screening and lead optimization, DNDi launched the NTD Drug Discovery Booster with several major pharmaceutical companies.

Project updates


Several new collections originating from pharmaceutical and research partners were identified, contractually and physically accessed, and screened. Discussions continued with various pharmaceutical companies, not-for-profit organisations, and other entities to obtain access to new collections to keep building our screening pipeline. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the activities of almost all our screening partners from mid-March 2020 through the end of the year. 


DNDi has identified a variety of novel hit series via the screening of new compound libraries to continuously feed the early discovery pipeline for leishmaniasis. Those new starting points originate from both natural product and synthetic compound collections, either accessed through partnerships, acquired via purchase, or obtained as in-kind contributions to DNDi. 


Several new starting points are currently being followed up in hit profiling, annotation, and hit-to-lead programmes. The screening effort will continue, with the aim of delivering further drug candidates to mitigate the risks of attrition and increase the chance of developing a new drug.


More than 20 novel series were identified in 2017 and are now being progressed.