Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation announces the start of two new Open Lab projects

The Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation today announces the start of two new research projects, continuing its support in the search for new medicines to treat diseases of the developing world.

These projects will enable one scientist from the University of British Columbia (Canada) and two scientists from the University of Georgia (USA) to work on early stage drug discovery in the Open Lab at GSK’s Tres Cantos Medicines Development Campus in Madrid.

The first project from the University of British Columbia (UBC) aims to discover new medicines against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, focusing on the processes that allow it to live inside immune cells, called macrophages. The visiting scientist, Dr. Flavia Sorrentino, will design and run high throughput screening to identify new small molecules that enable eradication of the bacteria in infected macrophages. This collaboration is led by Professor Yossef Av-Gay from the UBC Division of Infectious Diseases, whose research is focused on the molecular pathogenesis of M. tuberculosis.

“We are excited about the opportunity to work alongside GlaxoSmithKline scientists and have access to resources and facilities at GSK´s Tres Cantos Medicines Development Campus”, says Dr. Av-Gay. “This is a true example of a collaborative effort between industry and academia aiming to develop new medicine to treat TB”.

In the second project from the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases (University of Georgia), two scientists, Dr. Rosa Suárez and Dr. Mariano Tilve, will aim to discover new medicines against Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite causing Chagas disease, and specifically its ability to persist for decades in muscle and adipose tissues. This collaboration builds on previous work by the Tarleton Research Group at the University of Georgia

“We have identified fatty acid oxidation as a key energy generating process in the intracellular stages of T. cruzi“ says Prof. Tarleton, “and with our collaborators at GSK, are identifying compounds that can specifically interrupt this process in T. cruzi, thus “starving” these parasites and preventing their development”.


The Foundation’s Governing Board Chair and Trustee, and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge Prof. Sir Leszek Borysiewicz said: “I am delighted that these two projects on tuberculosis and trypanosoma cruzi join the family of programmes being supported by the Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation. These are important diseases of the developing world which are desperately in need of new therapeutic developments to enable appropriate control. Both are novel and strongly collaborative between industry and academia and offer new directions for therapeutic intervention.” ENDS


About the Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation

The Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation is focused on providing funding and support for scientists, academics and institutions to develop and advance new ideas that could lead to new medicines to treat diseases of the developing world. Researchers are invited to submit projects for collaboration and funding, to be reviewed by the Foundation’s Governing Board and Trustees.


About the University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia, established in 1908, is one of Canada’s leading research universities. The Division of Infectious Diseases in the UBC Department of Medicine is actively involved in combating infectious diseases through patient care, education, and research.


About CTEGD, University of Georgia

The Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases is a university-wide, interdisciplinary center established in 1998 to foster research, education and service related to tropical and emerging infectious diseases. Based on a strong foundation of parasitology, immunology, cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics, CTEGD is made up of a wide range of research programs that focus largely on protozoan and metazoan parasites, their hosts and their vectors. CTEGD's investigators and their laboratories have made major contributions to our understanding of the diseases they study, such as malaria, Chagas disease, toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidiosis, lymphatic filariasis, African sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis and schistosomiasis -diseases of poverty that contribute enormously to global death and disability.