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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Opening Doors

The world is currently engaged in an unprecedented, transformational effort to achieve a set of 17 ‘broad and universal’ policy goals that seek to bring greater prosperity, security and dignity to all by 2030 (1). The Sustainable Development Goals are ambitious and highlight some important issues like poverty reduction, universal health and education as well as social justice for all. A key driver of this change that applies to all goals – including the one on health – is Goal 17, to revitalise global partnerships that “mobilise and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources” (2).

New Ways of Working

In the field of global health, the elimination of neglected and infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis (TB), AIDS and the Zika virus is a keen focus of interest. Scientists in both public and private sectors around the world are coming together through product development partnerships to share the very resources outlined by Goal 17 in order to develop new medicines for these debilitating and fatal diseases.

Recently, there has been a growing appreciation from groups involved in drug discovery of the value of greater openness and collaboration in the process. This has led to the establishment of pre-competitive collaborations and initiatives based on various levels of open access. Many groups have been experimenting with new ways of working, exploring models that utilise differing levels of engagement and transparency (3).

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Benoît Laleu is leading the Pathogen Box project at Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), where he is a Research Scientist in the Drug Discovery department. Before joining MMV in 2015, he spent seven years as a Medicinal Chemist at GenKyoTex, a Swiss biotechnology company. Benoît holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and completed postdoctoral studies at the University of Toronto, Canada. 

Jaya Banerji is Director of Communications and Advocacy at MMV and works with a team of communications and fundraising professionals to raise awareness about the need for continued R&D for malaria. She has over two decades of communications experience gained in India, the Middle East, Switzerland and the UK, from both public and private sector organisations. Jaya holds an MPH from the University of Liverpool, UK. 

Paul A Willis is Director of Drug Discovery at MMV, where he has responsibility for a portfolio of drug discovery projects working with major pharmaceutical companies and academic groups. He also coordinates many of MMV’s open science activities. Before joining MMV in 2011, Paul was employed by AstraZeneca, first as a Medicinal Chemist then as a Project Leader, working on cardiovascular, respiratory and anti-inflammatory drug discovery projects. He has a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Southampton, UK, and carried out postdoctoral studies at the University of Texas at Austin, US. 
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Benoît Laleu
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Jaya Banerji
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Paul A Willis
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