European projects

Novel natural products for healthy ageing

Novel natural products for healthy ageing from Mediterranean diet and food plants of other global Sources - 01/01/2016-01/01/2020 Budget UA 76.500€, totaal budget: 1.224.000€


The principle aim of the INTEGRATE project is to provide a training platform where students are exposed to every aspect of the antimicrobial discovery process, ranging from target identification and validation, through in silico design, organic synthesis and compound screening, to mode-of-action and possible resistance mechanisms.

Partners: University of Parma,University of Helsinki, University of Eastern Finland, Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, University of Cambridge, University of Ljubljana, Taros Chemicals, University of Antwerp, Aptuit, European Screening,  Port, CSC – IT Center for Science,  Matera, Finnish Patent and Registration Office, Tampere University of Technology, 


Title: Parasite-specific nucleotide phosphodiesterase inhibitors to target Neglected Parasitic Diseases

Funding: FP7 Cooperation- Health

Start date: 2014

Participant: Lab. of Microbiology, Parasitology and Hygiene (LMPH) &  Lab. of Medicinal Chemistry (UAMC)

This project aims to unite global efforts to target the highly druggable class of enzymes called cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases (PDEs) in the fight for neglected parasitic diseases (NPD). It will establish a drug discovery platform, PDE4NPD, that combines phenotypic screening with efficient target-centric drug discovery, including target validation, various strategies for compound screening, PDE hit and lead optimization, safety and toxicology assessments and evaluation of anti-parasitic activity. The platform will make use of the target class expertise that the participating SMEs have gained when developing drugs for human and parasite PDEs, while all public partners offer proven experience in the field of NPD. The SMEs will adopt and progress existing PDE inhibitors that are in different stages of the drug discovery pipeline (i.e., target validation, hit and lead optimization). The current portfolio of inhibitors have clinical potential for treating sleeping sickness, Chagas' disease and leishmaniasis. Finding novel hits and leads for the PDEs that are associated with helminth diseases is also foreseen. The platform is open for targeting other NPD, and a broad panel of phenotypic screens (including malaria) is available to test PDE inhibitors. The phenotypic screening is performed by world-renowned groups, including two institutes in endemic countries. By capturing human and parasite PDE-related data in annotated chemogenomics
databases, PDE-4-NPD will achieve the knowledge accumulation that is typical for target-centric approaches, thereby making the NPD drug development more efficient and enabling the SMEs to take advantage of the molecular understanding that is key for developing new medicines. The PDE4NPD platform constitutes an ideal basis for creating fruitful collaborations with both public and private partners word-wide.


Title: Strengthening the research & innovative capacities of the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis (Baltic regional centre for drug disc.)

Funding: FP7 Capacities- Research potential

From: 01/09/2013 to 28/02/2017

Participants: Lab. of Microbiology, Parasitology and Hygiene (LMPH), Lab. of Medicinal Chemistry (UAMC).

The general objectives of the InnovaBalt project are to improve multidisciplinary research capacities and strengthen the management of intellectual property and human resources for innovative drug discovery at the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis (LIOS). LIOS is the leading regional research centre for drug discovery, which consists of organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry and the pharmaceutical development of compounds designed for the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and CNS disorders. LIOS has a clear vision of its mission, which is to develop sustained research activities in the domain of innovative medicine.
The following objectives will be implemented:
1. Long-lasting scientific collaboration and strategic partnerships between LIOS and 50 outstanding research institutions will be established and sustained to increase the visibility of LIOS in the European Research Area (ERA);
2. The management of intellectual property will be improved and innovation will be increased by collaborating with and attracting 14 external professionals;
3. The research infrastructure and qualification of human resources at LIOS will be upgraded in the fields of modern process chemistry, green chemistry, biophysical chemistry, in silico drug discovery, advanced forms for drug delivery and research and innovation management to promote the capacity for high-level research on innovative drug development;
4. Synergy between research on innovative drug development and end-users will be ensured to meet the socio-economic needs of the Baltic region.
The implementation of the aforementioned objectives will reinforce the strategic development of LIOS, improve the scientific outcomes and promote the long-term impact of the LIOS research through its wholesome integration into the ERA.



Title: Medicinal Chemistry Open Innovation Doctorates -Tuberculosis (with GSK DDW)

Funding: FP7 People- ITN

From: 01/10/2012 to 30/09/2016

Participant: Lab of Medicinal Chemistry (UAMC)

Abstract: The establishment of influential public and private public partnerships fostering true collaboration between big Pharma and universities for a non-profit end goal has opened the door for stronger interaction and integration. This structural change has come to stay and is slowly permeating other sectors in which the commercial return on investment is clear (Drug. Discov. Today, 2009, 14, 1003). This new paradigm is also creating opportunities for young scientists to experience and understand both industrial and academic points of view when it comes to the early discovery and pharmaceutical development of new drugs. A new generation of scientists trained under a public-private partnership will find itself in a privileged position in terms of employment opportunities. Moreover, the close ties arising from this interaction will improve the dialogue between Pharma and academia, resulting in faster implementation of relevant medicinal chemistry basic science discoveries into the Pharma pipeline and a better understanding within academia of the critical limiting factors behind falling productivity in the Pharma sector.

In this context, neglected diseases research and development is opening important new avenues of collaboration between academia and industry. The scientific focus of this EID project will be on the design and synthesis of novel antituberculosis drugs. The fellows will have unique access to corporate HTS screening hits while being exposed to both industrial and academic med chem strategies and philosophies. These chemical efforts will be supported by the application of state of the art chemical biology tools for investigation of compound activity profiles. In particular, the new single cell microfluidic-microscopy system at the industrial partner/s site will allow for in depth study of the activities of the new compounds, while also providing a platform for investigating the gross modes of action of both novel and known antituberculars.



Title: Combined Highly Active Anti-retroviral Microbicides

Funding: FP7 Cooperation- Health

From: 01/01/2010 to 31/12/2014

Participant: Lab. of Medicinal Chemistry (UAMC)

This proposal is for a large scale collaborative project in which we propose both to develop novel microbicides directed against new intracellular targets and to investigate novel combinations of highly active anti-retroviral drugs which may be particularly effective as microbicides. Combinations may enhance efficacy but equally importantly will increase the genetic barrier to the development of resistance. 
The proposal includes development of both slow release and gel formulations, pharmacokinetic and challenge experiments in macaques as well as human studies including a collaborative study with an EDCTP-funded project to use multiplex and proteomic technologies as well as culture-independent DNA-based analysis of mucosal microbiota to investigate biomarkers and establish a baseline signature from which perturbations can be recognised. This is a large consortium comprising 30 partners from 8 EU countries and from Switzerland, Ukraine, South Africa and the United States.Partners include microbicide developers, IPM and Particle Sciences, and producers, Gilead, Tibotec and Virco. Two SMEs will also participate in RTD aspects. 
The consortium is multidisciplinary with scientists engaged in basic discovery working with new targets and developing novel chemistry to produce compounds with improved safety and efficacy profiles as well as altered patterns of resistance.


COST action CM1307

Title: Targeted chemotherapy towards diseases caused by endoparasites

Start date: 2014

Participant: Lab. of Medicinal Chemistry (UAMC) & Lab of Microbiology, Parasitology and Hygiene (LMPH)


Advances in the chemotherapy against human and animal parasitic diseases remain limited largely because drug candidates have low specificity and show poor in vivo bioavailability. The Action aims at uniting scientists with different backgrounds to create synergistic interactions paving the way for antiparasitic drug discovery for diseases caused by protozoa and helminths.

The scientific aim is to bundle together the identification and validation of parasite drug targets based on the established genomes, medicinal chemistry including structure-based drug design, crystallography, bioinformatics, and drug targeting using chemical and nanotechnological approaches to improve drug performance. Also, rational assessment of the potential of natural product and other compound libraries will be used to identify new leads. Crucially, the Action will create an unprecedented combined forum for human health scientists and veterinarians, because of the enormous unmet needs in treating human and animal parasitic diseases and due to methodological homogeneity of their drug design strategies. The most promising compounds and formulations will be tested in established infection models before further preclinical and clinical development with emphasis on drug safety.

Expected benefits include intensified cooperations between Academia and Industry. This will be achieved through focused conferences, networking, a dedicated website and training schools for state-of-the-art technologies.


International projects


Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi)

Theme: Screening for anti-infective agents

Participant: Laboratory of Microbiology, Parasitology and Hygiene (LMPH)