Fungus-Derived Compounds to Fight Drug-Resistant Malaria

Technology #34250

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Debopam Chakrabarti, Ph.D.
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Jennifer Collins
Shengxin Cai
Robert Cichewicz, Ph.D.
Jin Woo Lee
Patent Protection

US Patent Pending
Novel Antiplasmodial Compounds from Fungi
Keystone Symposia Global Health Series: 21st-Century Drug Discovery and Development for Global Health, October 17-20, 2018, Berlin, Germany

Key Points

  • Antiplasmodial compounds isolated from fungi to possibly treat and prevent malaria
  • Agents are either an HDAC (histone deacetylase) inhibitor or a peptaibol
  • Ability to inhibit intraerythrocytic growth of chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum Dd2


Researchers at the University of Central Florida and the University of Oklahoma have identified fungus-derived compounds for developing treatments against drug-resistant species of Plasmodium. Compounds collected from a large library of diverse fungi (including pure compounds and extracts) may enable scientists to target new cellular structures of malaria-causing parasites such as Plasmodium falciparum. The species is resistant to most antimalarial treatments, including chloroquine.

Technical Details

The researchers identified potential antimalarial compounds through cell-based screening of P. falciparum multidrug-resistant strains. The compounds came from a diverse library of fungi found in habitats and ecological niches across the United States. Using the SYBR Green I-based fluorescence assay, the scientists screened the samples for agents with the ability to inhibit intraerythrocytic growth of chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum Dd2. Such agents were either an HDAC inhibitor or a peptaibol. These unique pharmacophores from broad areas of chemical space provide chemical starting points for developing lead compounds of new drugs against malaria.

Partnering Opportunity

The research team is looking for partners to develop the technology further for commercialization.

Stage of Development



  • May alleviate the problem of drug resistance
  • Could be used to act upon novel cellular targets
  • May be used to treat or prevent one or more symptoms of malaria

Market Application

  • Drugs to treat malaria