Grant Abstract: Biodiversity Conservation & Drug Discovery in Madagascar

Grant Number: 5U01TW000313-12
PI Name: David Kingston
Project Title: Biodiversity Conservation & Drug Discovery in Madagascar

Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The overall goals of this International Cooperative Biodiversity group are to achieve the threefold mission of biodiversity conservation, economic development, and drug discovery in Madagascar. The proposed research integrates the work of seven different associate programs into a coherent whole to achieve these goals. The drug discovery mission will have a threefold approach to collecting biomaterials in Madagascar. Plants will be collected by botanists from Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) Conservation International (CI) and the Centre National d'Application et des Recherches Pharmaceutiques (CNARP). Marine organisms will be collected by teams from Centre National de Recherches sur l'Environnement (CNRE) and Centre National de Recherches Oceanographiques (CNRO). Microbial strain isolation from soil samples will be carried out by scientists from CNARP after receiving training at DowAgroSciences (DAS). The plants will be extracted by workers at the CNARP, and the marine organisms will be extracted by workers at CNRE and CNRO. Subsequent bioassays, fractionation studies, and chemistry will be carried out by CNARP, Eisai Research Institute (ERI), DAS and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPISU) in the interest areas of cancer, immunology, malaria, neurological disease, tuberculosis, and agrochemistry, and royalties will be paid to Madagascar on sales of any pharmaceuticals or agrochemicals that are developed from this work. Pure microbial strains will be cultured by one or both of the industrial partners, and active compounds of interest will then be isolated from these culture broths. In addition to the drug discovery work outlined above, the Group will also carry out economic development and biodiversity conservation initiatives in Madagascar. In Madagascar the work will include the completion of biodiversity surveys of well-defined forest preserves, as well as training in botanical methods at MBG, training in microbial techniques at DAS, and training in natural product isolation at VPISU. The work will also involve local stakeholders in decisions about the use of upfront funds contributed by DAS and ERI.

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