TropIQ receives 1 million USD from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Dechering, Koen

TropIQ receives 1 million USD from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop ground-breaking idea.

The Dutch biotech company TropIQ Health Sciences receives 1 million USD from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a method for identification of a novel type of malaria drug. TropIQ uses glowing parasites and barcoded mosquito meals to accelerate the discovery of novel medicines. This innovative approach is unique in the world. With this new method, the Dutch start-up responded to a call from the foundation for innovative research ideas.TropIQ Health Sciences exploits an industrial drug discovery platform for discovery of a novel type of malaria drug. CEO Koen Dechering: "we test whether compounds block development of parasites in the mosquito midgut. That will stop transmission of malaria through the mosquito. Such compounds are a prerequisite for elimination of malaria." Current methods for identification of such molecules are very labour intensive and impede the development of a novel medicine. TropIQ will solve this issue by implementing an innovative screening approach. Barcoded bloodmeals and quenched light TropIQ will accelerate the discovery of novel drugs by feeding mosquitoes on a blood meal that contains light-emitting malaria parasites. In addition, they will add a test compound and a unique molecular barcode to each bloodmeal. The barcode is carried by a bacterium that colonizes the mosquito midgut. A compound that blocks parasite development will shut off the light in the mosquito midgut. The barcode then allows a rapid identification of the active compound. This compound is a potential new drug. Dechering: "This innovation allows us to test larger sets of compounds. That increases the chance that we will find a novel transmission-blocking drug. The support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is instrumental in further development of this exciting technology."

TropIQ Health Sciences is a spin-off of the Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. It offers a technology platform for research on novel malaria interventions and works with pharmaceutical industries and research institutes across the globe. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, based in Seattle, invests in innovative research to improve the health of people most in need.

Photo: Koen Dechering, CEO TropiQ

 


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