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Programmes » Drug Development

DRUG DEVELOPMENT: SCIENCE FOR THE COMMON GOOD

Pharmaceutical companies have insufficient motive to fund the search for new drugs that combat tropical diseases such as malaria, the Ebola fever, leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis. There is a need to redirect research and funding toward public screening programmes to develop new drug therapies that address the greater good. Our program demonstrates the urgent need for public-private partnerships to finance independent research in tropical and emergent diseases. It equally reveals the need to build biomedical research networks as well as development centres. Such a program would include the equitable transfer of technology, as outlined by the CBD, in order to enhance the scientific capabilities and the value of genetic resources in developing countries. In this millennium, with the increase of emerging infectious, chronic and drug resistant diseases, additional information is required about alternative therapies as a source of inspiration for new drug development if the goal of healthcare for all is to be attained.

International Cooperative Biodiversity Group:

Through our programme on drug development and biodiversity conservation in West & Central Africa, we seek to demonstrate that sustainable drug development is a viable alternative to commercial logging, as a source of income for local communities. The goal of the project is to increase the net worth of tropical forests as a living resource base.

International Centre for Ethnomedicine & Drug Discovery (InterCEDD)

This center was established in Nsukka, Nigeria, in response to the need for dynamic comprehensive laboratory services. It is located near an abundance of African biodiversity. The centre has the capabilities to perform several research and scientific procedures which include; chemical analysis, standardisation of botanicals, process and standardisation of phytomedicine, organic certification and authentication of cultivated botanicals, biological assays, access to full herbarium and ethno-botanical database, and a library of extracts and isolates of African medicinals for drug discovery.

Phytomedicine

Our drug development programme also has the added objective of studying and standardising, local traditional medicines, which have the potential to provide a more affordable, and in some cases, a more effective form of health care. Information concerning acute toxicity of traditional remedies is passed back to healers to enhance their practice. In this way, data generated through the drug development process is fed into both healthcare delivery and product development through partnerships.

Collaboration with Healers

We have successfully established relationships with the National Union of Herbal Medical Practitioners in Nigeria, PROMETRA in Senegal, as well as the umbrella union of healers in Africa. In each case, collaborations are based on reciprocity and equity.