WCAIR is a joint partnership between the University of Dundee and Wellcome.  To successfully deliver on our aims we need to partner with a number of organisations who share our vision for:

  • discovering new medicines for neglected and other infectious diseases that affect the developing world
  • training the next generation of scientists
  • engaging the public to support science in fighting poverty and disease.

Watch the video to find out why collaboration is important to successful outcomes.


You can find out more about who we work with and what they do by clicking on the links below.

Medicines for Malaria Venture

WCAIR and MMV partner together across the drug discovery and development pipeline. The DDU provides a screening service for MMV, using our expertise to test compounds from other MMV partners. The DDU have selected and curated compound libraries for MMV and our compound management team provide assay ready screening plates to groups across the world. MMV are funding the DDU malaria team to undertake drug discovery for a new validated target in the Plasmodium falciparum parasite. In addition, MMV is supporting the Mode of Action group in developing thermal proteome profiling as an approach to determine the molecular targets of anti-malarial compounds. In 2015  the DDU partnership with MMV published a novel anti-malaria compound in the journal Nature. The DDU team won MMV team of the year in 2014 for their contribution to the discovery of the compound. Merck KgaA, supported by MMV, are progressing this compound through early clinical trials to test its safety and effectiveness in human volunteers.

Read more about the work of MMV.

Medicines for Malaria Venture logo

Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative

Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DND) is a not-for-profit research and development organization which works to deliver new treatments for neglected diseases, in particular leishmaniasis, human African trypanosomiasis, Chagas disease, specific filarial infections, mycetoma, paediatric HIV, and hepatitis C. In April 2018 DNDi signed an agreement to collaborate with the DDU and GSK to discover new pre-clinical candidates for leishmaniasis and Chagas disease.

Watch Dr Charles Mowbray, Director of Drug Discovery, DNDi as he explains why DNDi partners with the DDU.

Read more about the work of DNDi.




The Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) and GSK Global Health Research and Development unit in Tres Cantos, Spain have been working together since 2011 with a shared commitment on neglected diseases. In April 2018 GSK signed an agreement to collaborate with the DDU and DNDi to discover new pre-clinical candidates for leishmaniasis and Chagas disease

In July 2018 scientists at WCAIR and GSK published a new pre-clinical candidate for visceral leishmaniasis . An additional, pre-clinical candidate for visceral leishmaniasis has been identified, details of which will be published in the near future. The partnership continues to address unmet medical need for these diseases, with a current focus on Chagas disease.



Tuberculosis Drug Discovery

The DDU Tuberculosis (TB) team are embedded in a number of partnerships whose aim is to discover and develop innovative new medicines to shorten the duration of TB treatment and provide alternative treatments to tackle TB resistant to existing therapies. The DDU is a partner in the SHORTEN-TB programme sponsored by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH). In addition, the DDU TB team is funded directly by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to identify novel late stage pre-clinical candidates. Because of its commitment to TB research the DDU is a member of the TB Drug Accelerator  a unique consortium whose stated aim is discovering multiple mechanistically distinct TB candidates sufficient to advance a drug regiment to a 1 month POC by 2024.

We also became an associated Partner in the European Innovative Medicines Initiative European Regimen Accelerator for Tuberculosis (ERA4TB) at its inception in 2020. This collaboration creates a world-class ‘platform’ that brings together the expertise, tools and resources needed to accelerate the development of anti-TB drug combinations.

Read more about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation  and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation logo Foundation for the National Institutes of Health      

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Drug discovery research at the DDU is supported directly and indirectly by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation directly supports the DDU TB team to create lead candidates for TB and progress them through pre-clinical studies. The Gates Foundation is also the major funder of partnership programmes involving the DDU TB and malaria teams including FNIH SHORTEN-TB, the TB Drug Accelerator, the Structure-guided Drug Discovery Coalition (SDDC) and Malaria Drug Accelerator (MALDA).

Read more about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation logo

Structure Guided Drug Discovery Coalition

The Structure guided Drug Discovery Coalition (SDDC) is an international collaboration led by the Drug Discovery Unit at the University of Dundee, Scotland with researchers from the University of Washington, Seattle (SSCGID-Seattle), USA, the University of Chicago (CSGID-Chicago) , USA and University of Campinas (Centre of Medicinal Chemistry-UNICAMP), Brazil. The coalition was granted $5M over the next 3 years (2Q 2024) by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

SDDC primary aim is to develop compounds to “Early Lead” status, with Proof-of-Concept in animal models of infection for Malaria and Tuberculosis.

Read more on the SDDC website

Figure shows the 4 partners and external collaborators in the Structure guided Drug Discovery Coalition.