A partnership has been created to discover new and effective treatments for parasitic diseases affecting companion animals and livestock.

The organisations are working together in the hope of developing new drugs and treatments. Image © Therina Groenewald.

The University of Dundee Drug Discovery Unit in Scotland, the Freie Universität Berlin Institute of Parasitology and Tropical Veterinary Medicine (IPTVM) in Germany and Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health will work together in the hope of developing new drugs and treatments.

Parasites are a major cause of disease in animals, often impacting animal welfare and leading to significant economic loss for farmers. The intention of the three parties is to intensify their partnership in the near future.

Desperate need

Paul Wyatt, director of the Drug Discovery Unit at the University of Dundee, said: “The situation with these diseases is not dissimilar to what we see in neglected human diseases, where existing treatments are often ineffective and increasingly subject to parasitic resistance.

Paul Wyatt
Paul Wyatt.

“So, we desperately need to find new drugs that can treat these diseases.

“At the Drug Discovery Unit, we have an established reputation in the delivery of potential new drug treatments for devastating parasitic diseases in humans, including malaria. That expertise is being used through this project to find new treatments for animal diseases.”

Increasing issue of resistance

The IPTVM has long-standing expertise in identification and characterisation, as well as clinical testing of new parasiticides.

IPTVM director Georg von Samson-Himmelstjerna said: “The increasing problem of antiparasiticide resistance, which represents a major threat for animal health and productivity, is a key research area at our institute in Berlin.

“The finding of novel, resistance-breaking compounds is of ultimate importance for the successful future control of parasitic diseases.”

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